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One-stop online shop helping farmers reduce energy use

Posted Dec. 4, 2012


Small to mid-sized farm operations now have a new resource for helping reduce on-farm energy consumption.


The Farm Energy Working Group, facilitated by the Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) at the University of Northern Iowa and supported by a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, has introduced a new web site that provides a wealth of energy saving information.


The site serves as a one stop shop resource to help farmers identify potential energy reduction for their farms, learn how other farmers have achieved energy savings, and find resources for farm audits, utility rebates and funding opportunities.


The site was developed at farmers’ request of the working group when it was formed four years ago, according to FEWG coordinator Carole Yates.


“The resources on our web site are comprehensive and based on information farmers told us they wanted in one place,” she explains. “One of my favorite resources is the farmer success videos – four short videos of Iowa farmers telling what they’re doing to reduce fossil fuel use and replace it with energy efficiency and renewable energy.”


The resource also includes Farmer Success Stories in a printable format about farmers’ use of wind energy, solar hot water and solar electric, a corn-burning boiler, wood-burning boiler to heat an insulated greenhouse, and a passive solar vegetable storage space. The working group has supported small demonstration grants for several years and information from those projects also available.


“Many farmers want to know where to get a farm energy audit,” Yates notes, “so we have links to the list of Iowa energy auditors from the Rural Energy for America Program, links to private company auditors, as well as farm auditors from utility companies.”


Farmers also will find resources for energy efficiency and renewable energy grants and loans as well as federal and state tax credits, including Iowa’s new solar tax credit initiated last July. Finally there’s a link to all Iowa utility incentives/rebates through the Database of Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).



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