Posted on

Will Solar Farms Power the Farms of the Future?

2_17_17_Brian_LongyangxiaDamSolarPark_January2017

Touch the Soil News #645 (Feature Photo – NASA Earth Observatory) Forty years ago (1977) the cost of solar was $76.67 per watt. Today, its less than 50 cents per watt – 153 times cheaper. Recently, while flying over Eastern China, a NASA satellite took the picture above. What you are looking at is the world’s largest solar farm consisting of approximately 4 million solar panels and covering an area of 10 square miles (6,400 acres). This solar farm has the capacity to generate 850 megawatts – just shy of the standard 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant. This solar farm can power about 140,000 homes. China is the world’s leader…

Read more

Posted on

Unlimited Energy for Food? It’s Only A Matter of Time

energia-solar-energia-renovavel

Touch the Soil News #553 It is true, that one of the more exciting arenas to follow these days is the ever-evolving food chain. However, there are exciting times today in the arena of energy – which is intricately tied to food. While most people do not grow their own food, that situation may change. If energy becomes more affordable and sustainable, the world will not only have community gardens, but community greenhouses, and lots of urban agriculture greenhouses in northern climates. While the world is still psychologically hooked to coal and oil, this is all on a path of change. This year, 2016, has been remarkable in terms of…

Read more

Posted on

Solar Irrigation Pumps

Udabhai-570x570

Touch the Soil News #405 (An Editorial by Benjamin Gisin) I remember years ago sitting at a desk and approving agricultural loans for the nation’s 7th largest agricultural bank. One of the largest expenses some farmers faced was the cost of electricity to run water pumps and irrigation pivots. If the farmer was late the previous year in paying power bills, the power company would demand farmers to prepay an season’s pumping costs. The power company would not turn on the pumps until the deposit was made. This was painful, as power costs often ran in excess of $100,000. Recent news from India reveals an astonishing trend – small farmers using…

Read more

Posted on

Sundrop Farms’ Greenhouses Boggle the Imagination

photo courtesy of Sundrop Farms

Touch the Soil News #210 While the information doesn’t reach mainstream American news, the folks down under (Port Augusta, Australia) are engaged in a big project. Sundrop Farms – a hydroponic greenhouse venture – is in the midst of building a 49.4 acre complex of greenhouses. Sundrop Farms has reached an agreement with Australian supermarket chain “Coles” to supply locally grown, sustainably produced affordable produce. Coles has 750 retail outlets across Australia. Inside a Sundrop Farm tomato greenhouse – the new greenhouses will cover about 2.2 million square feet (photo courtesy of Sundrop Farms) The farming project, called the Port Augusta project, does not utilize the traditional farming cornerstones of…

Read more

Posted on

Are Solar Farms Going To Put Ethanol Out of Its Misery?

EthanolPlant

It’s no secret ethanol is a political child – whose sales are propped up by laws requiring ethanol be blended with gasoline. Similar to gasoline, ethanol prices have taken a plunge over the past year. Many folks try to avoid gas with ethanol arguing that it is an underperformer. The agricultural footprint of ethanol has raised objections by none other than Jose Graziano da Silva – head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). His position is simple – ethanol makes food more expensive and uses farmland that should be used to alleviate global hunger. Case in point is the U.S. Ethanol industry’s gigantic agricultural footprint. It takes…

Read more