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Farming and alternative fuels

By Charles Hopkins Published 03/13/2006 | Environment

Farming is one the leading industries in the US and it has been one the longest lasting forms of income, and for sustaining life in the history of the US. Without farmers, without their hard work day after day, many millions of Americans would starve without the needed nutritious types of products that farmers provide each of us. Farmers use machinery to cut the hay, to cut the corn, to aid in ways that were never possible before. One can now run a farm with fewer workers and labor because of the use of automated machines, and machinery in cutting the crops, moving the crops and even in storing crops.  With all the machinery that is being used by a farmer, the costs of gasoline and diesel can weight heavily on the farmers bottom line.

Incentives for farmers to use alternative fuels are increasing.  The cost of diesel and of gasoline is constantly on the rise, and the bottom line for the farmer is shrinking as the gasoline is rising.  To combat this, many farmers are striking back, creating their own fuels and finding alternatives for the gasoline and diesel they would other wise be purchasing. For every farmer, there is a need to create a better alternative, and farmers are turning to their own crops, and waste to provide their selves with the needed fuel to cut costs.

Garbage and waste, such as recyclables are just two items that are being used as alternative fuels. While these are not readily available and easy to use, many farmers are turning to alcohol, ethanol and the use of vegetable oils as alternative fuels.  Alcohol and ethanol are very similar products, created from the starches that are in plants right in the field.  From the starchy types of plants and vegetables in the fields, many are using processes to streamline that starch into a sugar, which is then used in creating the alcohol, and ethanol that can be used as fuel. The process is much cheaper overall than purchasing gasoline or diesel.

Often times, these mixtures can be blended with diesel to create a good clean running fuel, or they can be used on their own, cutting out the need for diesel all around.  If you are finding that you are tired of all those high fuel costs, turn to your own crops and process what you can to make ethanol and put it in the tractors, trucks and for running the machinery that you use on the farm.

If you are interested in adding alternative fuels to your farming process, contact your local department of agriculture for some of the best up to date information. You can also find information about how to make alternative fuels, and how to use alternative fuels on the links provided on these pages. Every farmer that is producing corn, soybean, and that is collecting used vegetable oils from other industries can make and use alternative fuels in machinery for a much lower over all farming cost.