Rural Missouri - November 2011 - (Page 5)
Hart to Heart
A solution for energy independence
hese days, it’s hard to get Republicans and Democrats on the same page about anything. But there are a few common denominators on which everyone can agree. One of these is that our nation needs more jobs. The other is that gas prices are too high. I believe there is a common solution to both of these challenges: ethanol. Made right here in Missouri, from corn produced by electric co-op members, ethanol offers an opportunity to add tremendous value to agriculture. Ethanol production has generated good jobs in places that desperately need them. It has spurred economic activity in transportation and construction. Most importantly, it has provided hope for rural youth who might otherwise look to urban areas for employment. Nationally, the industry in 2010 contributed $53.6 billion to the economy, generated $8.6 billion in federal tax revenue and supported more than 400,000 jobs, according to the trade group Growth Energy. But that’s just a start. In the October Rural Missouri, we told you about new blender pumps that are being installed around the state. Missouri
by Barry Hart email@example.com
leads the nation in grant applications for the installation of these pumps, which offer consumers with flex-fuel vehicles more choices in the ratio of gas to ethanol in fuel, and more choices for reducing our dependence on foreign oil. One of the first blender pump installations was at Platte-Clay Fuels in Kearney, owned by the electric cooperative that serves north of Kansas City. While fuel prices vary, Platte-Clay was selling the highest blend of fuel, E85, 40 cents per gallon cheaper than other fuels when the blender pump first opened in August. Those flex-fuel pumps let motorists choose their fuel, instead of having their choice made for them.
Consumers can choose from five blends, from 10 percent ethanol to 85 percent ethanol. Besides saving money on each fill-up — because ethanol reduces fuel prices — they can experiment to find the best blend to improve mileage. Many find that E30 is the best option in today’s cars. Platte-Clay’s blender pumps and others like it in Missouri were made possible by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. Administrator Judith Canales came to Missouri in April to announce the program. She was back just three months later to see it bear fruit. She pointed out that every year, the United States pays $300 billion for oil to foreign coun-
“It’s time to invest in homegrown, renewable energy that will put Americans back to work and reduce our dependence on hostile governments.” Barry Hart
tries, including many that are not friendly to Americans. She said the more oil we can replace with ethanol, the more we reduce the role foreign oil plays in our economy. Ethanol is better for the environment, too. These higher blends will help to significantly reduce both fine particulate and greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes. It’s time to invest in homegrown, renewable energy that will put Americans back to work and reduce our dependence on hostile governments. Our nation has a national security goal of producing 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year by 2022. If you own a flex-fuel vehicle, you can help make this possible by using higher blends of ethanol in your vehicle. There are nearly 10 million of these vehicles on the road, with another million added every year. Ethanol has the potential to replace foreign oil for transportation in our country. It’s more than a fuel — it’s a solution to a lot of problems we face. You can learn more about ethanol at www.drivingethanol.org or watch the new movie “Freedom” available at www.thefreedomfilm.com. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
Perpetuating the legacy
oday, Missouri is known for its world-class outdoor adventures and boasts a truly wonderful uniqueness with more than 14 million acres of forest land, prairies, caves and an enormous diversity of water resources — springs, rivers, streams, wetlands and lakes. Our state supports a citizen population of 6 million. Missourians enjoy an accessible network of lands, buildings and facilities with a prominent mission — helping citizens enjoy and understand our state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources. It is important to note these lands and facilities occur both in rural areas and also in the hearts of major cities. Conservation — wise use — of these resources has a proven and important track record. They have a tremendous impact at the individual, family, community and state levels. Combining the numbers generated by hunting and fishing, wildlife watching and forest industries shows the importance of conservation in our state. Conservation supports about 95,000 Missouri jobs, involves many citizens through active participation and generates revenue to the state of more
by Robert L. Ziehmer
than $11.4 billion annually. History clearly shows the wisdom in Missouri citizens’ approach to conservation. In the early 1930s, it is reported there were fewer than 2,000 deer. Turkey were rarely seen, and beaver, bear, elk and many other animals were rare or already gone. Missouri, a state that once supported the world’s largest sawmill, had depleted its vast Ozark forests. Streams and the resources they supported had experienced major declines. From that low point, a groundswell of citizen support for conservation developed. In 1935, concerned citizens met to discuss what could be done.
From that meeting, the idea of a citizen-led conservation agency and a management approach based on technical research emerged. This concept, presented as a constitutional amendment, received overwhelming citizen support. Today, our conservation system of governance is studied nationally as the “model approach.” Missouri conservation is unique in its history, in the way the Conservation Commission derives its funding and authority from the people, and in the passion and commitment of Missourians to perpetuate this legacy. The Show-Me State’s conservation efforts have accom-
“The journey of conservation is not complete. Many modern-day conservation issues create challenges to our state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources.” Robert Ziehmer
plished some amazing results. We have restored and sustained dozens of wildlife and fisheries resources; transformed forestry into a sustainable industry; created a system devoted to serving private landowners — both rural and urban; developed an accessible network of lands, buildings and facilities with a prominent mission; and partnered the entire way with citizens. The journey of conservation is not complete. Many modern-day conservation issues create challenges to our state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources. It is working as a team — Conservation Department and citizens — that we will build on past successes and continue advancing Missouri as a national leader in forest, fish and wildlife management. Thank you for your continued interest, support and active involvement in Missouri’s conservation movement. I encourage all Missourians — young and old alike — to look for ways to become more actively involved in conservation. Ziehmer is the director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and a member of Co-Mo Electric. Learn more about the department at www.mdc.mo.gov.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2011
Rural Missouri - November 2011
Table of Contents
In search of Missouri mills
Co-ops take action
Best of rural Missouri
Out of the Way Eats
Second chance ranch
Grant takes command
Hearth and Home
The hillbilly approach to the Woodstock nation
Rural Missouri - November 2011