According to a USDA survey, on-farm renewable energy production continues to grow in rural America. More than 8,500 farm operators are currently producing renewable energy using methane digesters, solar panels, and wind turbines. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack hopes the survey will encourage more operators to produce their own energy. Vilsack noted that: “The reality is there is a significant energy savings and a money savings associated with these operations. And so as farmers and ranchers and growers learn about the fact that they can save $2,500 or so on their energy bills they may be more interested in this.”
Flying over the Midwest in a plane one sees vast fields of wheat, grain, corn, and other cash crops as far as the eye can see. Then, a few hundred miles later one catches sight of the nearest large city with its skyscrapers, vacant lots, and tar roofed buildings where some of that agriculture crop will most likely end up.
Now, imagine 20 years from today flying over cities like Chicago, New York, and Detroit and seeing vast swaths of green, red, and gold agricultural terrain below in place of the expected black tar roofs and vacant grey expanses of abandoned lots; a grid of black and gray surrounded and overtaken by agriculture production.
Husk Power Systems (HPS), a startup company based in India, has developed a renewable energy system, which uses the discarded husks of rice grains to generate electricity. When heated, rice husks release gas that can be harnessed to power generators. A small HPS processing plant can provide electricity to several hundred households. The husk power project is subsidized by the Indian government, which has set a goal of deriving 15 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020. Read the full article: Indian Electricity Initiative Shines New Light on Farm Garbage.
SIMLESA – Increasing Food Security through Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives in sub-Saharan AfricaMarch 18, 2011 | Robert Puro
SIMLESA, which stands for Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa, is a four-year program whose overall objective is to sustainably increase the productivity of selected maize-legume systems in eastern and southern Africa by 30% from the 2009 average for each target country by the year 2020. The program with funding from the Australian government is comprised of scientists from Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya.
Seedstock is always interested in learning more about who’s out there starting companies in the sustainable agriculture space. Today we were fortunate enough to speak with Seth Burns, CEO of San Diego, CA based Biogas & Electric LLC.
Burns is a fourth generation cattle rancher with an MBA who hails from Big Timber, Montana and possesses firsthand knowledge of the potential for biogas, (the gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter such as livestock waste in the absence of oxygen), to promote sustainable agriculture.