Google recently unveiled plans to collaborate with Duke University and Duke Energy in funding a pig waste-powered methane power plant in North Carolina. The refuse from 9,000 hogs can produce enough electric power to run 35 homes for an entire year!
For more information about how the plant will work, check out this link.
While we applaud innovative renewable energy efforts, one of our staff members brought up the possibility for this kind of innovation to further encourage industrial agriculture and factory farms—a dangerous potential indeed.
Another update from Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine on the reality of “superweeds” destroying cropland as they gain resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup. It turns out the widespread use of Roundup has led to the evolution of far-tougher-to-eradicate strains of weeds. As a farmer interviewed for the article says, “This can change the whole farming industry if we can’t get a handle on it.”
Here’s a video of what the farmers of Evening Song Farm in Cuttingsville, Vermont, found when they returned to their farm after Hurricane Irene had passed through, causing Mill River to flood and wash away their vegetable fields. This is just one example of the many farms in Vermont that were destroyed in the storm.
Despite all of the destruction, there is good news on the way for Northeastern farmers whose livelihood was affected by Hurricane Irene. This Wall Street Journal article describes how the federal government is reimbursing Northeastern dairy farmers the full market value of the milk they had to abandon when Hurricane Irene prevented them from getting it to market.
On the other end of the natural disaster spectrum, wildfires are raging throughout Texas as a result of the ongoing drought. Images from the Statesman Photo and Multimedia Blog paint a grim picture of the current state of affairs in the state.
The USDA announced that they will ban the sale of ground beef tainted with six toxic strains of E. coli bacteria that are increasingly showing up as the cause of severe illness from food. Up until now, only one strain of E. coli was officially banned; these six additional strains in beef account for about 40,000 illnesses each year.