Farm Energy Planning

Save money tomorrow by making energy improvements today.

The Winneshiek Energy District is now offering Farm Energy Planning services at minimal cost to farmers in the 6-county region including Winneshiek, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Chickasaw.

f770ff9d-7167-4d9c-8b53-b1efab8d7653Agriculture is the dominant land use and economic mainstay of our Northeast Iowa counties. Can you believe area farmers spend well over $100 million per year on energy inputs? Major cost categories include: Nitrogen inputs to cropland; electricity and gas usage in livestock facilities such as dairy, hog, and poultry, and in grain drying; and equipment fuels for field operations.

Much of that energy can be saved through efficiency practices, and much more generated right on the farm through renewables. Taking advantage of these opportunities will help the pocketbooks of farmers, contribute greatly to local economies, and reduce our regional contribution to climate change.

Apply for a Farm Energy Plan

Email us for more information.

The Planning Process

  1. Conduct inventory and analysis of all energy sources and uses, including energy efficiency AND renewable energy opportunities on your site.
  2. Develop a plan.
  3. Help with implementation
  4. Identify potential sources of financial incentives

The Financial Opportunity

  • Energy planning supported by USDA, so your cost is minimal ($50-100, explained in the first FAQ)
  • Economic analysis identifies payback for efficiency and renewables
  • One-stop shop for making sense of the universe of options, including:
    • NRCS/EQIP cost-share and incentive payments
    • Utility rebates
    • Tax incentives
    • RD REAP grants

Energy Savings Opportunity from Upgrading Metal Halide Lighting Fixtures (example)

Practice Opportunities on your Farm

  • Lighting – the LED era is here and now!
  • HVAC systems in facilities
  • Pumps, motors, milk handling systems
  • Grain operations including fuel and tillage, fertilizer, drying, and even cover cropping
  • Efficiency first, then RENEWABLE opportunities including on-farm solar, wind, methane, and more

How it Works

  • You can start by collecting energy records for the past 12-24 months including electric, gas/propane, gasoline/diesel, and Nitrogen fertilizer.
  • We’ll schedule an on-site visit, and possibly return for more data collection.
  • We’ll take a look at the whole farm, but do let us know if there’s something specific you’re interested in.
  • You’ll receive a report with details of the analysis and suggestions for further steps.

Common Questions

How much does it cost?

A USDA NRCS partnership is allowing the Energy District to provide these services at minimal cost. The fee is $100 if your total annual farm energy costs are under $1,000, or $300 if your annual farm energy costs exceed $1,000.

Am I eligible for a Farm Energy Plan?

Farms in Allamakee, Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette, Howard, or Chickasaw county are eligible for WED’s farm energy planning program.

What if I’m not eligible for WED’s program?

You should still consider pursuing quality technical assistance for farm energy analysis. You could start with your local utility which may offer limited auditing services, or you could talk to NRCS about cost-sharing available for energy planning. If you have a specific program or practice in mind be sure to make that clear. WED can still provide you free advice and guidance.

So, what is the Winneshiek Energy District?

Local leaders created WED, a non-profit, in response to local energy economics and climate change concerns, and modeled it on the Soil and Water Conservation Districts formed in the Dust Bowl. We work for locally-owned renewable energy and energy efficiency and the creation of an energy ethic at the local and state level. We hope to be the first of many Energy Districts in Iowa and the United States.

Who can I contact?

Direct further questions about the Farm Energy Planning Program to Farm Energy Planner Joel Zook.