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Rockingham County farmer uses canola as an alternative energy source

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – In the Valley, a farmer has found an alternative form of power that’s really convenient with today’s diesel prices.

As you know, the Shenandoah Valley is home to many beautiful sights, including a canola field full of yellow flowers. Not only do they provide beautiful scenery, but they actually serve a good purpose.

Farmer Glen Rhodes of Rockingham County is a partner of Riverview Farms and has a power source that many others don’t.

“Several years ago we were milling soybeans for biodiesel and I found that canola had more oil than soybeans, so we started growing canola as a crop for biodiesel,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said canola reduces the cost of on-farm fuel and energy to run equipment while also serving as feed for livestock.

“Crushing soybeans and canola adds protein to our livestock so we can grow food for our livestock and fuel for our equipment,” Rhodes said.

With diesel prices averaging nearly $5 a gallon on Thursday, the farm is saving more money and paying far less to make its own fuel.

“We can grow and produce a gallon of biofuel for about $1 a gallon. So it saves on our fuel costs, especially irrigation fuel. So the benefit is cost reduction,” Rhodes said.

The energy originally comes from the sun.

“Growing your own fuel is a kind of passive solar cultivation. The sun produces the plant and then you extract the fuel from it, so it’s really kind of a passive solar situation,” Rhodes said.

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