2010-06-17 / Local & State

USDA Offers Producers Help With On-Farm Energy Audits

Have you ever wondered how you can reduce the amount of energy used on your farm? USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may have the answer. Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), NRCS is now offering funding opportunities to help you obtain an energy audit at your farm’s headquarters or on cropland.

Producers interested in obtaining energy audits through this EQIP special initiative should apply by Friday, June 18, to be considered for the 2010 funding cycle.

The energy audits will be individually tailored to ensure coverage of each farm’s primary energy uses such as milk cooling, irrigation pumping, heating and cooling of livestock production facilities, manure collection and transfer, grain drying, and similar common onfarm activities. An agricultural energy management plan will be developed to identify what techniques or equipment can be used to reduce energy use and save money. The plan will be designed by a technical service provider (certified by NRCS and placed on an approved list), who will provide technical assistance for specific conservation programs administered by USDA.

Through EIP, NRCS will pay up to 75 percent of the average cost of an agricultural energy management plan based on the number of animal units or acres of cropland. Payment rates are at www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/tech nical/Energy/whats_new.ht ml.

Produces signing up after June 18, or producers who are not funded in 2010, due to the number of requests exceeding available funds, can ask to have their application retained for consideration in 2011.

A free online assessment is available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/te chnial/energy/index.html to see how you can become more energy efficient.

For more information about USDA’s energy initiative, or other conservation programs, please visit www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA service Center in the area.

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