Slippery Back to Work & Vilsack's Mixed Emotions

Slippery Back to Work & Vilsack's Mixed Emotions

Slippery Back to Work & Vilsack’s Mixed Emotions plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.

Yesterday was the first day back to work for a lot of people after the long holiday and it was not a good one as snow and ice made their way into a large part of the northwest. The Columbia River Gorge saw lots of slippery road conditions with weekend freezing rain. Officials in Spokane upgraded to a stage 2 snow emergency yesterday morning. Stage 2 is triggered when there are 6 inches of snow on the ground with more expected. And snow continued to fall over southern Idaho causing the Idaho State Police to respond to numerous accidents on I-84.

Last weeks last ditch effort by Congress to stave off the fiscal cliff and extend the current farm bill has gotten a lot of mixed emotions including that of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.

VILSACK: I’m pleased that Congress passed needed middle class tax relief and continued unemployment insurance protection for 2-million unemployed Americans. While I am relieved the agreement reached prevents a spike in dairy and other commodities I am disappointed Congress has been unable to pass a multi-year reauthorization of the Food, Farm and Jobs bill that would give rural America the long term certainty they need and deserve.

Vilsack said he would continue to work with Congress to get a new 5-year deal done.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

So, just what can you do with poo? Well, quite a lot actually. Of course livestock manure has long been a source of natural fertilizer. And manure from numerous different animals - chickens, cows, pigs - has been proven to work as an alternative energy source. Ten thousand cows from as many as thirteen farms in Vermont will be helping to generate electricity through the power of their poo for one of the state’s popular ski resorts. Methane digesters are helping dairy farmers and feedlot operators cut waste management costs while providing electricity and power needs, in addition to adding revenue to their operations and reducing surface and groundwater contamination. There are even technologies being studied to re-process human waste. And then there is the rather odd idea from a Belgian designer and scientist who have been working for the last couple of years on developing a diet for pigeons that would essentially have them pooping soap. If successful, pigeons would soon be helping to clean up cities instead of the other way around. Now that is definitely an idea whose time has come.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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