Energy Workshop for Farmers Pays Dividends

Take advantage of chance to review energy costs.

Published on: Mar 14, 2011

The question isn't whether you can afford to take the morning off away from the shop this Thursday, March 17 to attend meetings at the Hendricks County fairgrounds in Danville in central Indiana. It's more of a question of can you afford not to?

Started several months ago, Purdue University Extension has an issues-based action team that works on energy savings on the farm. They are sponsoring this workshop in Danville later this week.

Part of the program will focus on Purdue's energy auditing services that are available. These can be used to help you determine how efficient you are at utilizing energy on the farm today. Various areas of farm production will be discussed. If the use involves energy, expect it to be on the agenda.

The program will be held beginning at 9:00 EDT and should conclude by noon. It's a free workshop, but you are asked to register. If you plan to attend, contact Janet Cunningham by tomorrow, March 15, at: jcunningham@purdue.edu. Or you can call her at 317-745-9260.

Chad Martin, a Purdue ag engineer, says the whole idea of the program is to help farmers evaluate their own operations, doing an energy audit of the farm system. Expect the survey to look at both electricity rates and fuel costs. Fuel costs are of particular concern at the moment with skyrocketing prices.

Based on audits they've done elsewhere, Martin says that you may see a payback of less than five years in this program. Grain drying and irrigation are major operations on the farm that can suck up lots of energy dollars in a hurry.

The workshop will also discuss USDA grants that could be available to you to help you make improvements that increase energy efficiency on that farm. These are called REAP grants and loans. Several farmers in Indiana have already used the program to help them do development on their farm.

Come to the meeting and you can expect to hear form Roberto Lopez, a Purdue professor who will talk about improving efficiency in greenhouse operations, Sarah Aubry, owner of Prosperity Ag & Energy Resources, a company that works specifically with farmers to shepherd them through the process of acquiring funding from USDA through either grants and/or loans, and Martin, who will specifically explain Purdue's energy auditing program and show producers how they can use online tools to improve energy efficiency.