The Roundup -

Discussion On Increasing Energy Efficiency On The Farm And Ranch Part Of EARC Field Day


Agriculture production requires a lot of energy to produce results. With over 90% of that energy coming from oil, coal, and natural gas, energy usage costs ag producers a lot of money over the course of a typical year. Fortunately, farmers and ranchers have grown quite savvy in the art of reducing production costs in all areas, including the use of energy. They change production practices when needed, switch crop varieties that have proven themselves as good or better than older varieties in yield, and they use more energy efficient methods in their farming operation as these methods become viable alternatives. Ag producers also may introduce on-farm energy production as part of their operation, keep farm machinery well-maintained, and make fewer trips across their fields. Any of these changes or a combination of these changes can result in higher profit margins simply by reducing the amount of energy used to produce a crop.

Sometimes however farmers and ranchers do not realize how much energy a particular practice may be costing them, nor do they have the money to make necessary changes that would decrease energy usage. During this year’s Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) Field Day, scheduled for Tuesday, July 14. Tim Fine, Richland County Extension agent, will discuss improving energy efficiency on farms and ranches. Fine’s presentation will begin at 1:30 p.m.

“Ag producers are big energy consumers and anything we can do to increase efficiency on the farm ultimately increases profits,” Fine notes. “I recently took part in a training session to help producers identify areas within their operations where they can potentially increase energy efficiency.”

Fine’s training acquainted him with a program offered by the NRCS as part of the 2015 Farm Bill. Fine will explain this program and the required steps interested producers must complete if they wish to become part of this program. The program does not include renewable energy nor does it apply to residential dwellings.

The program has several steps which begin with an on-site energy audit, conducted by a technical services provider. This specialist provides an on-site evaluation, and using the results of the evaluation, develops an agricultural energy management plan. Producers who qualify for this program then initiate these recommendations that have proven energy reduction benefits.

Fine will conduct an assessment of the EARC shop to demonstrate the audit process.

Plan to attend this afternoon session of the EARC field day program, which begins at 1:30 p.m.


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