Oh, my, what a crappy idea....
As far as I know, every sustainable agricultural system in human history
has relied very significantly on returning manure to the fields/gardens
(Well, yes, some cultures have used dung for fuel for domestic
cooking. Tibet? Plains Indians?)
Larry? How about some modern incarnation of "buffalo
chips?" Why use pet coal to make "charcoal"
briquettes? We could convert all those gas grill users to
freeze-dried, shrink-wrapped, easy-lighting equine deposits.....
It's all a matter of selling a lifestyle...
At 07:53 PM 11/11/2007 -0500, LWheeler45@no.address wrote:
Published Nov. 11, 2007 7:30
Ocala Star Banner
Every rose has its thorn
Marion County more than its horse farms. The sight of grazing mares and
foals against a backdrop of rolling pastures and moss-draped oaks creates
a picture-postcard portrait of our community that is a chamber of
commerce dream. It's a living dream that also happens to create thousands
of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy
each year, not to mention the visitors and sportsmen it attracts from the
But, as the old proverb goes, every rose has its thorn.
The thorn, in this case, is mounds upon mounds of horse
manure produced by the 50,000-plus horses that make Marion
County the horse capital of the world. The county's 700-800 horse farms,
in fact, produce an estimated 400,000 tons a year of the stinking stuff,
about one-fourth of which the farms currently can't dispose of through
existing methods. And that 100,000-ton surplus is more than an unsightly,
odorous nuisance. It is an environmental hazard that pollutes our
For the past decade the horse industry hereabouts has been on notice that
it needed to do something about disposing of the excess manure in a
environmentally responsible way. The pressure to finally do that is now
intense as the county appears ready to pass a stringent Springs
Protection Act that will forbid stockpiling horse waste; enactment of the
ordinance could come as early as late 2008. After much discussion and at
least one failed, $2 million foray a few years back to address the manure
quandary, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association may
have found a workable solution. It is a solution that proponents believe
will be not only environmentally beneficial, but economically beneficial
as well. All the better.
FTBOA announced earlier this month it has formed a partnership with
Georgia-based Global Green Solutions, known as Florida Greensteam Equine
Energy, to build an incineration plant that would burn horse
"muck," the mix of manure, urine and stable bedding the farms
produce. During the super-hot burning process, steam would be produced
that, in turn, would generate electricity. The Florida Greensteam
partners then hope to sell that electricity to area power companies like
Ocala Electric Utility and Florida Progress Energy.
FTBOA Executive Vice President Dick Hancock said the $20 million plant is
expected to produce 10-12 megawatts of electricity, based on the 100,000
tons of excess horse waste. That, he said, is about enough to meet the
power needs of a city the size of Williston. Hancock added that its
developers believe the proposed plant could ultimately handle twice as
much waste as is now planned, and the partners might approach local
governments about taking on wood waste such as construction and yard
debris. That could be a sorely needed relief valve for the county, in
particular, as it struggles to make room at its fast-filling Baseline
special beauty of the FTBOA-Global Green project, at this point, is that
it is not asking for on any governmental funding to move forward.
Although the partnership is applying for some state and federal
alternative energy grants,
it is looking to revenues
from the sale of its electrical generation to pay off the two parties'
As long as Marion County remains the horse capital of the world - and we
pray that it does forever - there will be mountains of horse manure to
contend with. Until now, it has been an accepted, if unpleasant,
inconvenience and pollutant. But with protecting our diminishing
groundwater supply from continuing pollution and unavoidable imperative,
something had to give.
It is refreshing the FTBOA has not reneged on its long-standing pledge to
find an acceptable, environmentally responsible solution to its organic
pollution problem. At the same time, we understand this is a new and
largely untested technology that may take time to get the kinks out of
completely. Unfortunately, time isn't something the horse industry or our
groundwater supply, and particularly our precious springs, have in any
semblance of abundance.
Every rose has its thorn, but if the FTBOA plan works, maybe our rose
will smell just a little bit sweeter and our water will be little bit
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