Farmer to begin growing his own tractor fuel

Posted by erauch, November 5, 2010
Jackson County farmer Jeff Pittman is planning on using his sunflower crop to help fuel his farm.- Mark Skinner/Floridan
Jackson County farmer Jeff Pittman is turning sunflower oil into fuel that will soon power his irrigation engines.

Research and experimentation has been ongoing since 2008, when traditional fuel prices were inching toward $4 a gallon. So far, minor amount of the biofuel has been produced along the way, but Pittman expects to convert a bigger batch for use next spring.

He had first hoped to run some of his older tractors will the fuel, but realized using sunflower oil in old tractors wasn’t the most efficient use of the alternate power source.

Even with using the cheaper sunflower power, he realized it wasn’t smart to use the older tractors, instead of the newer ones he has. The old tractors don’t have the technologically advanced implements he needs to run his operation on a best-practices basis.

He decided he was better off using the sunflower-based fuel to run his irrigation system.