On-Farm Fuel Production

Operator: Phillip Barker
Production: Dairy
Location: Oxford, Granville County, NC

Philip Barker runs a small dairy farm in Granville County. He is a full time farmer, supporting a wife and two children. Barker grew up on this land and helped his family farm tobacco in the 1980s and 1990s. They also grew vegetables and milked cows on the side. He later worked as the assistant herdsman at the North Carolina State University dairy research station in Butner, NC. His desire to preserve the land and keep it in the family compelled him to continue raising and milking cows. Barker is also the only black dairy farm operator in North Carolina and is involved in social and agricultural non-profit work in his area.

For his farming operation, fuel is the third largest expense. The dairy requires fuel for the tractor, refrigerator units, and other diesel engines. Barker wants to collect used oil and convert it into bio-diesel for farm use. Bio-diesel can be processed through cleaning used oil and putting it into a reactor to make it run more efficiently. This bio-diesel can be used in the place of fuel for any diesel engine. It is a way to re-use a waste product and significantly reduce the costs of operating a farm.

Barker hopes to cut his $18,000 annual fuel expense in half by processing his own fuel on the farm. He plans to contact local restaurants in the area and build relationships with them in order to pick up their used vegetable oil on a regular basis. Barker expects that he should be able to collect and produce his own fuel at around 85 cents per gallon.