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Rockingham County farmer uses canola as alternative energy source

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 10:39 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2022 at 10:40 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - In the Valley, one farmer has found an alternative form of energy that is really coming in handy with the current prices for diesel.

As you know, the Shenandoah Valley is home to many beautiful views, and this includes a canola field full of yellow flowers. Not only do they provide beautiful scenery but they actually have a good purpose.

Farmer Glen Rhodes in Rockingham County is a partner of Riverview Farms and he has an energy source many others don’t.

“A number of years ago, we were crushing soybeans for biodiesel and I found out that canola has more oil in it than soybeans, so we started growing canola as a crop for biodiesel,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes said canola lowers the cost of fuel and energy on the farm to run equipment while also serving as food for cattle.

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

With prices for diesel averaging almost $5 a gallon Thursday, the farm is saving more money and paying way less to make their own fuel.

“We can grow and produce a gallon of biofuel for around $1 a gallon. So that really saves on our fuel costs particularly say irrigation fuel. So the benefit is cost savings,” Rhodes said.

The energy originally comes from the sun.

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

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