Reflections: Farmers could fix that broken pipe
June 10, 2010 in: Reflections on the River
I can’t wait to hear the next bright idea from the folks at BP on how to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
That one was a real prize winner – throw mud at it. Seriously? The brightest minds in the business and that’s the best they can come up with. Meanwhile, the entire Gulf Coast – and eventually all of us – are left to pay the price.
The trouble is, these petroleum engineers are not used to working under stressful conditions with limited resources. But I know some folks who are great under these circumstances.
Turn a couple of Missouri farmers lose on that bad boy and they’ll show the world how you fix an oil leak, using nothing but an adjustable wrench, some baling wire and a junk combine for miscellaneous parts.
They wouldn’t quit until the job was done, either. BP is saying that it might be August before they can figure out how to outwit a broken pipe.
Can you imagine a farmer being told that it would be August before he could take his hay baler out to the field? That answer simply wouldn’t be acceptable. He’d work day and night, skin a few knuckles, mutter a few choice words, and get it up and running. And though perhaps he may be tempted, he’d never throw mud at the baler expecting to achieve anything.
BP would be well advised to take counsel from a farmer.
A lot of answers to our energy conundrum, in fact, can be found in the fields of Northwest Missouri.
This ugly oil slick slithering across the ocean is making alternative fuels a more attractive alternative all the time. Ethanol is made from corn and biodiesel made from soybean oil and animal fat that are grown right here. Right here – where no terrorists control refineries, where the byproducts are not only safe, they’re valuable as animal feed and industrial products, and where a spill of biofuel does not create a continental health hazard.
Since most ethanol plants are owned by farmers, they’re pretty good at keeping them running, even when time and resources are at a premium.
Biofuels are probably not the only solution to a complex energy puzzle, but I am tired of people criticizing ethanol while it has proven itself as one of the few viable alternatives to petroleum.
The best thing “green” activists have come up with is to ride your bike. This makes for a difficult commute when there are six inches of snow on the ground. While OPEC was counting its money and oil companies assured us they had everything under control, American farmers invested their own resources to develop ethanol.
Critics accuse corn-based fuel of driving up food prices. Funny how they did not seem concerned about whether farmers were making a decent living when they were eating their full without a care in the world. Ethanol is a fuel made possible by the efficiency of farmers and America’s amazing agriculture capacity. That’s a point of pride for our nation.
The countryside is now also providing electrical power. A new wind farm may be popping up in northern Nodaway County. It’s fitting that these power generators are called wind farms and that many are located on actual farms, with the potential to return income to landowners.
Should a turbine spring a leak, it shouldn’t be too dangerous, since it would be spilling air. If it does get serious, a farmer could fix it quick, since there’s an extra piece of wire hanging off the back fence and probably a junk combine nearby for spare parts.