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U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

Oil Spill Ideas

Jun 14, 2010
***Editor's Note:  The Farm Report Mailbag segment for June 12-13, 2010, focused on unique ideas and approaches to containing the massive oil spill in the Gulf. Below is the transcript of that segment, followed by viewer feedback...


Farm Report Mailbag:
      THIS WEEK HAS A LITTLE DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE FARM REPORT MAILBAG....
IF YOU HAVE A RETIRED BROTHER-IN-LAW WITH TOO MUCH TIME AND COMPUTER ON HIS HANDS, YOU PROBABLY HAVE SEEN ONE OF THE OIL SPILL SOLUTION VIDEOS NOW IN VIRAL CIRCULATION. ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR IS HOW EASILY HAY COULD SOP UP THE OIL. TO BE SURE, USING ORDINARY HAY TO ACCUMULATE OIL IN WATER WORKS. IN A SMALL PAN OF WATER. BUT THERE IS THE PROBLEM OF SCALING UP, AS ENGINEERS PUT IT. THE FIRST IS OUR INABILITY TO GRASP THE SIZE OF THE OIL SPILL ON THE SURFACE - AND REMEMBER, MUCH OF THE OIL HAS YET TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP. THIS PICTURE PULLED FROM GOOGLE MAPS DEMONSTRATES THE SIZE OF THE SPILL. THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WOULD SPREAD AND THEN GATHER AN AREA THE SIZE OF JUST YOUR FARM, FOR EXAMPLE. LET'S PRETEND THERE IS ENOUGH HAY. TRANSPORTATION WILL BE A HUGE ISSUE. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS HAY IS PRETTY MUCH SPOKEN FOR BY OUR DAIRY, BEEF AND EQUINE INDUSTRIES. THE INEVITABLE RUN-UP IN PRICES COULD BE A DEATH BLOW TO THEM. THE HAY COST ALONE WOULD BE HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS. FINALLY, ONE CRUDE ESTIMATE OF BOATS NEEDED CAME UP WITH ABOUT 250,000 SHRIMPERS, ABOUT 50 TIMES THE EXISTING FLEET. NOR ARE THESE BOATS DESIGNED FOR SCATTERING AND GATHERING OIL-DRENCHED HAY. BY THE WAY, I'LL POST ALL THIS INFO AND MORE ON OUR WEB SITE. AS MORE LARGE, COMPLEX PROBLEMS OCCUR, LIKE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OR THE BP SPILL, WE SEEM TO BE FORSAKING HARD MATH FOR WISHFUL SIMPLICITY. BUT ALWAYS CHOOSING THE EASY ANSWER IS HOW WE GOT HERE.


Viewer Response:
   200'x12' grain or silage bags can hold a thousand barrels of oil! Many farms up here in the north country store grain and silage in these giant bags, so why can't oil be bagged? Slip string on the bottom of the big bag can be released, letting any water out the bottom or rear of the bag! Small local fishing boats can pull these bags very easily, as I have seen a TV show that showed a small boat dragging a very large bag of fresh water to a dry country! So I know small boats can pull these bags! Add an oil skimmer and fishermen can catch oil for a living at $71 a barrel. One bag can hold many thousands of dollars worth of precious oil, so good business sense means they should not disburse oil or burn it off!
Sincerely yours,
Darrell Dammen
Massena, NY

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