NRCS Announces Initiative to Improve Agricultural Energy Efficiency

May 17, 2010

Individual Energy Audits Will Help Producers Reduce Energy Use

DAVIS, Calif., May 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced an initiative designed to help California agricultural producers transition to more energy efficient operations. This initiative will make funding available for individual on-farm energy audits designed to save both money and energy when fully implemented.

“Helping California’s farmers and ranchers reduce energy use helps everyone’s bottom line,” said Ed Burton, NRCS State Conservationist for California. “More efficient energy use will help our agricultural producers, and Californians, become more energy independent.”

California is one of 29 states receiving funding for on-farm energy audits in fiscal year 2010 through the 2008 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). As much as $225,000 is available in California to assist up to 150 farmers and ranchers with audits.

The energy audits will be individually tailored to assess 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 other similar on-farm activities.

NRCS California will pay for the initial audits and the associated Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP). The AgEMP provides producers a roadmap for future implementation of energy-efficient practices.

Applications are due at local NRCS offices on or before June 18, 2010. Funding is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If approved for funding, producers will be asked to select an NRCS-certified local Technical Service Provider, or contractor, to perform the audit and develop the AgEMP.

“Once an energy plan is developed for a specific farm or ranch, the producer may have the opportunity to apply for cost share through EQIP to implement some of the plan’s recommendations,” Burton said. “NRCS is providing California’s agricultural producers a number of resources to really become energy efficient.”

For more information, producers can contact their local USDA Service Center or visit http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.

NRCS is celebrating its 75th year of “helping people help the land.” Since its inception in 1935, NRCS has worked in partnership with private landowners and a variety of local, state and federal conservation partners to deliver conservation based on specific, local needs.

SOURCE USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service

Source: newswire

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