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Posts Tagged With: ALOT

My Tour of An Ethanol Plant

My tour of an ethanol plant

I’m about to leave again for my third ALOT trip of the summer and I haven’t posted anything about our second trip!  We did So Many Things on our trip across Northeast Missouri.  I’ve lived in this state my whole life and I’d never experienced anything like these tours.  We saw a dairy/addiction rehab operation, watched ham and bacon from start to finish, learned how to capture cow manure for methane gas, and even visited an Amish sawmill.  And then there was this tour.

My tour of an ethanol plant

This is an ethanol plant– a place where corn is turned into fuel for your car.

My tour of an ethanol plant

The plant manager explained all about the process and the product and then showed us around the facility.  Not sure I’d ever thought about it, but the ethanol in your gasoline is almost 200 proof alcohol.

My tour of an ethanol plant

Wouldn’t have guessed that.

My tour of an ethanol plant

Actually, an ethanol plant is pretty much a brewery.  The corn is ground up and separated into parts.  Dry flakes can be feed to cattle, the liquid is boiled, yeast is added, and the water is evaporated off.  In the pic above you can see the bubbles from the yeast.  And watch out.  This stuff gets HOT!

My tour of an ethanol plant

After it comes out of the evaporation process they add something to the alcohol to make it unfit for human consumption.  If they didn’t all this product would be under the same regulations as regular alcohol– and the same taxes!

My tour of an ethanol plant

I thought the most interesting part of the tour was seeing how they manage the plant.  The entire facility brought 40 jobs to a small town, but only five or so are needed to oversee the process of making the ethanol because everything is done from the (blessedly air conditioned) office.

My tour of an ethanol plant

Two guys watch the monitors, checking for changes and using a radio system to call for someone to look at tank four or whatever.

Next time you pull up to a gas pump, check the ethanol content in your fuel and think of farmers. American corn, processed in American plants, made by American workers is being used to move your car down the road.

I like the sound of that.

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Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Ag Leaders take on Washington D.C.!

And we’re back!  The trip to D.C. was amazing, exhausting, educational, memorable… and germ-y.  My plane touched down a week ago, but I’m just now recovering from all of it!

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

Me standing at the Lincoln Memorial looking over the mall.

I’ve got a million photos (okay, 324) of our trip, but I’ll try to just share the highlights.  There were only two or three each day. 😉

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

We started with a night tour of the Monuments; Jefferson Memorial

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

FDR Memorial- this is actually one of my favorite memorials because of all the quotes.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

World War II Memorial, which was also beautiful but hard to photograph as most of the lights were out.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

The Korean Memorial which reflects your image in the etching of the faces of the soldiers.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

And the Lincoln Memorial.   Our tour guide said one of the “myths” is that Lincoln is using American Sign Language to finger spell his initials because Lincoln signed the charter for the deaf college, Gallaudet.  This annoyed me to no end because that would be some of the worst signing ever, and the letters would be backwards, and just no.  It’s not.

But moving on…

ALOT Trip to Washington D.C.

It wasn’t all play and no work!  This is us meeting with a staffer in the House Committee on Agriculture.  We met with our state reps and their staff, and spent time with one of our Senators.

We also met Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.  If you don’t know about their scams, check out HumaneWatch.org.  (Hint, they aren’t taking care of puppies.)  Wayne was a little late to our meeting because he was busy lying to Congress, but let me tell you, the guy could sell snow to an Eskimo.  It was an enlightening experience!

http://www.humanewatch.org/hsus-lies-to-congress/

The guy on the far right is Congressman Jason Smith.  He took us on a night tour of the capitol (as in we finished a little before midnight!).  We couldn’t take our cameras in, but we got to go onto the Senate floor and see the signature in the desk of former President Harry Truman.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

We also saw Mount Vernon, and thanks to a favor from an ALOT alum we got to visit Washington’s Gristmill and Distillery during the off season.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

Usually we learn about Washington the General or President, but he referred to himself as a farmer, and he was a good one.  He used every resource he had, sold every by-product made, and had a farm bigger than most in the US today- 8,000 acres.  For comparison Marshall Farms rents, owns, and sharecrops a little more than half that amount and it supports two families.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

This is the round barn Washington invented to thresh wheat.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

And the cleanest manure compost I’ve ever seen.

ALOT trip to Washington D.C.

The trip ended with dinner in a tavern frequented by Washington and other founding fathers.

As fun as it was, I’m glad to be back– missed ya’ll! 😉

Categories: Agvocacy | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What Happens in ALOT

Gets published on the Internet!  Sorry guys!  Usually the happenings at the meetings of this hand-picked, higher education class are for the privileged members only, but when you invite a blogger to talk about blogging, well, you have now become public information! 🙂

ALOT (pronounced with a long A, not like the phrase “a lot.”) stands for Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow, and is a two-year class designed to introduce members to a wide variety of ag related topics, businesses, and ideas.  Brian was selected for this latest class and has been across the state visiting an amazing variety of people and places, listening and learning about more topics than I ever dreamed our state could boast.

The group has met Presidents, CEOs, and leaders of some really amazing organizations, so I didn’t know if I should be honored or intimated when the coordinator of the program called Brian and wanted the group to visit Marshall Farms!

ALOT group visits Marshall Farms

The 25 members of the group visited Marshall Farms, providing some incentive to finish multiple projects on this shed!

Brian gave a talking-tour of the farm (since it was 27 degrees when we started– what happened to spring?!), sharing lots of information about the technology we use.  Being in the shed meant we could get a good look at the sprayer and planter.

ALOT visits Marshall Farms

Since members hail from across the state Brian shared practices used in our area to deal with our specific soil and land types.

Then Dennis, Brian’s dad and “Grandpa” here on the blog, went into some detail about the soil conservation practices we follow.  Dennis has been an early adaptor of conservation for the last 35 years he has been in business as a farmer and he is still trying new ideas.  The most recent practice has been the addition of cover crops (read about that here), including some brand new cover crop mixtures we’ve just tried for the first time.

ALOT class visits Marshall Farms

If you’ve ever wondered what a farm “nerd” sounds like you should have heard the conversation between Dennis and the class as they discussed the chemical make-up of soil-LOL!

Then those poor class members had to listen to me tell about my experiences blogging and how I try to share agriculture with those interested in where their food comes from.

ALOT visits Marshall Farms

Trivia, I’ve been blogging at Daddy’s Tractor for two years, but before that I blogged at myfamilyfarm.blogspot.com.

The best part was the box of chocolates ALOT gives to each of their presenters.  So as far as I’m concerned ALOT is welcomed back anytime!  As long as you’re okay with being published on the Internet that is!!

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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