The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.
Nope, it's not too simple, it's a solution that's already well known -- and what you apparently don't grok is the scale of this spill. We're talking about thousands of square miles. And clearly you aren't visualizing just how large an area that is. We can't even effectively get a barrier in place at the *edge* of those thousands of square miles, let alone have the boats & man hours to spread a bunch of hay all over the *surface* of those thousands of square miles.
Not even close.
What's more, if you just dump this hay onto the surface of the gulf, it's going to clump up, break up, spread into odd patterns and drifts -- not evenly disperse over the surface. To stop oil from reaching the shore, you'd have to somehow contain and deploy it in a line around which oil couldn't sneak.
Guess what? We've got that. We call them booms -- and we've tested every material imaginable for boom use. Turns out the natural materials don't do any better than what we're already using.
If we could magically conjure up 10,000,000 shrimp boats with 40,000,000 shrimpers to operate them, and however many ungodly tons of hay it'd take to equip them all, then sure. This'd be perfect.
But we can't. And it isn't.