It’s the perfect time to get a Farm Energy Assessment
Joel Zook, Energy Planner
Farms are eligible for cost-share dollars for on-farm energy improvements. If you are considering a new grain dryer, or are looking to upgrade lighting, heating or dairy equipment consider an Agricultural Energy Management Plan to qualify. Talk with Joel Zook or with your local NRCS office about EQIP funding.
There’s no true off-season on a farm but take advantage of the break between planting and harvest to schedule an energy assessment today.
Reducing Farm Energy Usage
Farms use a significant amount of energy and reducing energy use can be one way to help the bottom line. Often times recommended practices can result in energy (and dollar) savings of 25% or more.
Many farmers look at replacing a grain dryer as the motivation to start the process and find that savings can exist elsewhere in lighting, heating systems, and insulation. Livestock farmers can certainly benefit from lighting and insulation upgrades. Dairies are large energy users and typically have even greater potential energy savings. EQIP has cost-share dollars for diary equipment like plate coolers, refrigeration heat recovery water heaters (like Therma-Stor or Fre-Heater), variable speed drives for milk transfer pumps or blowers and more. EQIP Cost-Share can be used along with rebates from your utility provider.
An Agricultural Energy Management Plan is required to apply for cost-share on energy equipment. The Winneshiek Energy District is certified with NRCS as an eligible Technical Service Provider and can provide you with a written report that meets all NRCS requirements. Cost starts at $1,500 for a small farm with a grain or livestock operation and will increase in cost for dairies or larger farms to account for the additional time needed on-site and to write a report for more complicated practices. If cost is an issue, you can also apply for EQIP cost-share on the energy assessment itself. Cost-share typically covers the majority of the cost of an energy assessment.
Fall signup date has not yet been announced but it is typically Mid-October. There’s plenty of time to get an energy assessment for your farm before the deadline but call now to get on the schedule. It starts to fill up near the end of the year and summer is a perfect time to get organized and submit your application. You’ll make sure the NRCS office has time to review and rank your application.
For more information about EQIP and other NRCS-administrated programs to help plan conservation on your land, contact the Winneshiek County USDA Service Center located at 2296 Oil Well Road, Decorah, IA. Phone: (563) 382-4352.