Dave Benfield, pictured below at the wheel of an all-electric GEM car, retires Dec. 31 as CFAES associate vice president of agricultural administration and director of the college’s Wooster campus. Joe Messenger, assistant to the director of OARDC, based in the Facilities Services unit on the Wooster campus, shared the following.
One of the challenges that Dave Benfield asked me to accomplish was to initiate an electric fleet of vehicles on the Wooster campus. During the past five years, we have purchased five electric GEM cars and one electric GEM truck. During the budget year of FY2021, we are planning to buy one GEM flatbed truck, and that will fulfill the electrical fleet needs for our campus.
Thanks to Dave and his vision for future improvements, we have been able to reduce our carbon footprint on this campus, removing six gasoline-fueled vehicles from our service fleet. On average, our electric vehicles can run a full week on one charge. We will be operating our electric fleet long after Dave has retired. He has left us with a positive motivation for continued improvements on our campus.
Read a Dec. 12 Wooster Daily Record story about Benfield and his career, including helping the campus recover from not one, but two, tornadoes. (Photo: Courtesy of Joe Messenger.)
CFAES scientist Rattan Lal was quoted last week in a story on carbon farming (aka carbon sequestration) called “Soil Matters” in Comstock’s magazine. The question: Can carbon farming really save us?
“It won’t be easy,” Lal says. “First of all we must stop adding carbon to the atmosphere. We must end fossil fuel combustion and deforestation, but it’s not happening yet.”
A world expert on carbon sequestration, Lal is a Distinguished University Professor in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.
Comstock’s covers the region around California’s capital, Sacramento. Read the story.
The next Wooster Science Café is tonight. CFAES scientist Fred Michel will present “Reducing Our Carbon Footprint.” It’s at 7 p.m. at Muddy’s Restaurant, 335 E. Liberty St., in Wooster. Admission is free. Michel works for CFAES’s research arm, OARDC in Wooster, where he studies composting and bioenergy. He’s also president of the Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network. He spoke on the solar panels on his own home and car at last week’s Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair.
Farmers and agribusinesses can learn more about installing solar energy systems as a way to cut both their costs and their operations’ environmental impacts at an agricultural solar energy workshop at OARDC, CFAES’s research arm, on Oct. 1.
“If you take away only one thing from this article, I want it to be this quote from esteemed soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal at Ohio State University,” John W. Roulac writes in “The solution under our feet: How regenerative organic agriculture can save the planet,” a Care2 story reposted from Ecowatch.
The quote? “A mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils,” says CFAES’s Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, “could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere.”
Read the story.
French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll, who talks about how agriculture can cut carbon emissions this Saturday at Ohio State, spoke at the Climate-Smart Agriculture Conference in March in France. The website French Food in the US gives a good rundown. Climate-smart agriculture, the conference’s website said, is based on three conditions: a “triple win” of food security, adaptation and mitigation. Know French? You can watch Le Foll’s conference talk here.
A 2014 EurActiv article called “France backs agroecology to fight climate change” quotes French Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll:
“The agricultural sector has a responsibility to reduce its emissions, but it can also offer solutions for greenhouse gas reduction.
“This is about considering the ecological challenge of the fight against climate change, the challenge to food production and the challenges of agriculture and forestry as one entity.
“The answer to the big environmental questions is not to reduce agricultural production, but to adapt.”
He speaks on his country’s carbon sequestration work this Saturday at Ohio State.
New research by a former CFAES graduate student and a professor in the college finds that state-level implementation of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in the U.S. reduced national carbon emissions by 4 percent in 2010, with more substantial cuts expected in the future. Read the story.