LETTERS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
Negligence is not defendable for arena

At a Marion County Fair Association board meeting this past summer, the board was addressed by the Marion Countywide 4-H Horse Project Leader, who presented a wagon loaded of old rusty and fragmented debris.

The debris had been picked up in a half-hour from the Hillsboro arena by the Marion Countywide 4-H Horse Project. Much of the tiny sharp debris had obviously been hidden in the sand a very long time.

From the presentation it was undeniable that a serious problem exists in the arena.

By late July, the Marion Countywide 4- H Horse Project had not received a report from the MCFA. Due to the arena’s unsafe state, members voted unanimously to continue to not expose their horses to the arena and withheld participating at the Marion County Fair.

It baffles me that a person with impressive credentials of horse knowledge would purposely ask his horse to run over such debris if it could be avoided (Letters, Oct. 18 issue).

I’ve seen how just one tiny sliver of metal can miserably lame a horse. Riding rough terrain should be an entirely different ball game than riding in an arena. One expects an arena to be a good, clean riding area that’s ideal for competition. The horse digs down and goes.

In dangerous terrain, one should try to ride slowly to minimize the risk to the animal and the rider. The horse is able to pick its footings and pressure applied.

Unfortunately, because of demo wreckage, the Hillsboro arena is dangerous terrain and should be treated as such. It’s sad the donated arena is presently unsuitable for its originally intended use.

Bottom line: Sharp and rusty fragmented debris does not belong in a riding arena. I do not mean to sound unappreciative, but it’s unrealistic to think one can hand-pick all the hidden foreign debris that saturates the sandy arena and make it safe for riding competitions. Our group too has been trying this for years.

If one truly believes he can achieve this feat, then it shouldn’t be so “out of the question” that they could believe it’s possible to overcome the obstacles to create a separate demo area or exchange dirt piles.

I am well aware of the risk that is involved with horses and double that with children in the mix. I know we are protected by Kansas’s no-liability of domestic animal law, but it does not excuse negligence. Being in my position, it is critical that I am not negligent.

It is hard to dispute that it is an irresponsible risk and a sign of negligence to knowingly place children and their animals to compete in an arena that one knows is full of hidden fragmented sharp foreign debris.

I’m encouraged to read that MCFA is continuing to explore options to remedy this situation. I hope it’s true and that they approach this with a can-do attitude.

As somebody somewhere once said, “Can’t never did anything.”

Tina Partridge,

G&B Saddle Club and

Peabody Achievers 4-H Horse project leader

Be wary of using Non-spec farm fuels

First, let me introduce myself. I am an Ellis County farmer. Besides wheat, milo and corn, I produce sunflowers and soybeans.

As a soybean grower, I was elected by the voting soybean growers of Kansas District V to be their member on the Kansas Soybean Commission. Marion County is included in District V.

In response to your article in last week’s issue, I feel obligated report the status of biodiesel and the benefits of using it as a legal fuel.

As a member of the Soybean Commission, I am their appointed voting member to the National Biodiesel Board. The NBB is made up of vegetable oil interests, renderers, biodiesel manufacturers, distributors and retailers for the purpose of bringing to the market a legal fuel for both on and off highway use.

At this time, about $50 million dollars have been spent in this effort. We have gained government and industry approval of a fuel, biodiesel, that meets the requirements of Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, Department of Health & Environment, Weights and Measures, etc., plus most importantly, the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) requirements of a legal fuel for highway and off road equipment warranty purposes.

It is also interchangeable with diesel in diesel engines, either pure or in blends with American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) diesel fuel.

About 90 percent of the money used for testing to certify this legal fuel came from the Soybean Checkoff paid by soy farmers upon sale of their crop. The purpose of developing this market was to increase the farm gate receipts of soybeans, which have lagged the rest of the U.S. economy. No federal or state tax money was used to develop biodiesel.

I might say that if you look at the corn and soybean markets of today, you can see the start of the success of the new markets for corn and soybeans through ethanol and biodiesel, even with a huge crop coming in.

Biodiesel is not straight vegetable oil or off-spec methyl ester.

State and federal laws define biodiesel (a.k.a methyl ester) as “mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils, animal fats (and used cooking oils) which conform to ASTM D6751 specifications for use in diesel engines. Biodiesel refers to the pure fuel before blending with diesel fuel.”

Biodiesel blends are denoted as “BXX,” with “XX” representing the percentage of biodiesel contained in the blend. The manufacturing process is called “transesterfication.”

The process is over 100 years old, being used by the soap industry where glycerin is the main product and methyl ester is a by-product.

The main reason for requiring biodiesel to meet the ASTM D6751 comes from the OEMs.

When you buy a diesel piece of equipment, you get two separate warranties for the engine. One is from the engine manufacturer and one is from the injection system manufacturer. Both of the entities require use of a legal fuel, which must be met or the warranty is automatically voided.

Again, the legal fuel must meet the ASTM for diesel and biodiesel. Straight vegetable oil, off-spec biodiesel, used fry oil or animal fat will automatically void these warranties.

Anyone who promotes the use of non-ASTM D6751 biodiesel or vegetable oils and animal fats does not do the farmers a favor. If you pay $150,000 to $200,000 for a tractor or combine, or buy a new car for $20,000 to $50,000, I am sure you want to be covered by a solid warranty.

Another commanding reason to use ASTM D6751 biodiesel is the new injection systems in the recent and 2007 engine mandates.

The old solid-piped injection systems, with pipes from the injector pump to the injectors, operated at about 15,000 to 16,000 psi. The new common rail systems, such as Cummins and Mercedes, require about 25,000 psi.

I drive a VW Passat TDI that has a pumpa duce that operates at 29,700 psi and pulses twice per combustion cycle. I would never in my right mind use an off-spec biodiesel or vegetable or or animal fat in my VW.

Obviously, quality of the diesel fuel is mandatory because of the much closer tolerances of such high pressure pumps and injectors.

Obviously, straight or blended vegetable oil or animal fat has a higher viscosity than is allowed by the OEMs or ASTM. The higher viscosity will cause the pump to work harder and the spray pattern from the injector will be distorted and not be as fine as required for complete combustion.

Probably the main reason for making your own biodiesel or using straight vegetable oil on the highway is to escape the 50 cent federal and state road tax. Someone has to pay for the roads, regardless of the fuel you use. Violators who do not pay this tax on the roads of the United States subject themselves to federal or state tax liability.

Also, a retailer who sells to the public non-spec fuel (gasoline, diesel or biodiesel) or strait or blended vegetable oils for highway fuel risks severe court action and fines.

Fuel at a public highway pump must be a legal fuel and be taxed for the good of the highway users.

If farmers or city-dwellers want to be involved in safe, quality fuel manufacture, there are several ways to do this for the benefit of all.

Two biodiesel plants proposed in Kansas are actively seeking investment capital. One is at Hiawatha and one at St. John. If anyone is interested in these investment opportunities, you can contact me or the Kansas Soybean office in Topeka for the phone numbers, addresses and contact persons.

Kansas Soybean Commission cannot promote any one company, but we can promote the industry. These plants will be required to produce ASTM D6751 legal fuel.

The NBB also has a BQ 9000 certification program that covers the manufacturer, distributor, jobber and retailer of biodiesel fuel and blends. This assures the end user that the biodiesel he or she buys meets the requirements of a legal fuel.

Most OEM warranties will specify that the biodiesel fuel used in their engines and injection systems be handled by BQ 9000 certified entities.

I personally cannot condone those who produce vegetable oil or animal fats for diesel use. But do not call them by the name of biodiesel. Call them vegetable oil or fats.

When they get around to buying a new piece of equipment, they will want a legal fuel. I have not covered here the problems that can be encountered using off spec biodiesel, strait vegetable oil or grease. These problems are well known and are the reason OEMs will not warrant their use.

Please, promote biodiesel, the legal fuel at the public pump. It is renewable, sustainable, non toxic, the most tested alternative fuel available.

For more information, go to www.biodiesel.org, which is the NBB Web site.

Harold G. Kraus

Hays

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