“Growing Green,” the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s fall Purple Plow Challenge, opens Aug. 1. In this challenge, students will learn about energy in various forms and design as well as build and share a solution that diversifies energy consumption.
A well-established, diversified energy system can provide benefits to society. Investment in diversifying our energy portfolio can reduce emissions and insulate against price shocks from overreliance on one form of energy. About 90% of American energy consumption is from nonrenewable sources primarily distillate fuels and coal. Renewable energy comprises a fraction of the American energy portfolio — approximately 10% of total energy consumption.
Energy is needed to produce the food we eat and transport it to consumers here at home and around the world. The most recent data from the USDA shows that the agricultural sector consumed “1,714 trillion British Thermal Units (BTU) of energy in 2014.” Renewable energy can help farmers become more self-sufficient, diversify income and promote practices that can benefit the environment. While agriculture consumes energy in a multitude of ways, there is also an opportunity to utilize renewable energy to meet the needs of the industry. How can we improve or diversify the way agriculture generates or consumes energy?
Agriculture consumes large amounts of energy in the production of our food. Farms consume energy both directly through the use of diesel, electricity, propane, natural gas and renewable fuels as well as in directly through the use of fuel in the production of fertilizers, pesticides and feedstock. In this challenge, students will learn about energy in various forms and design as well as build and share a solution that diversifies energy consumption.
Click HERE to learn more about the Purple Plow Challenge and enter this year's competition.