The Castlemaine Show this year (31 October-1 November) will have two very special stalls of interest to farmers, with displays on renewable energy and soil improvement.
“We are hosting a biodiesel exhibition and an exhibition of biochar,” said Mick Lewin, Chair of the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group.
“The Prime Minister has recently tied all Australia’s future horsepower to fossil fuels, but most people know renewables are running a much different – and a winning – race.
“MASG has been mapping Mt Alexander Shire for potential renewable energy projects, and biochar and biodiesel have exciting potential locally.”
He said the biodiesel specialist would demonstrate producing a viable fuel from canola seed, and a byproduct of that was a stockfeed and fertiliser.
“And biochar is an ancient technology renewed,” Mr Lewin said.
“It’s basically wood burnt at very high temperatures, with the oxygen then cut off. What results is a durable material that can be added to soils to lock down carbon, to improve the soil immensely and, of course, increase on-farm productivity.”
He said the ancient Egyptians used a form of biochar to improve their soils.
“Our local demonstrator adds other ingredients to improve on the quality of the biochar,” Mr Lewin said.
“We are very excited to be trialling these two projects here. If local farmers start picking them up they have the potential to turn this shire into a renewable energy powerhouse, concurrently improving farm incomes.
“These new, clean technologies are forging ahead, with the potential to create green jobs and income. It’s regrettable that our current national leadership is hitching Australia to a fossil fuel industry in decline.
“This is about leadership from the ground up, and we welcome local farmers and everyone interested to come and see renewable energy in action at the Castlemaine Show.”
Comment and interview: Mick Lewin: 0414 988 596
Media: Andrew McKenna 0423 934 192
MASG 325 Barker St / PO Box 1043 Castlemaine VIC 3450
(03) 5470 6978 / 0401 952 805