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Idaho Dairymen’s Association Leads Effort to Help Dairy Producers Cut Farm Energy Costs, Use

November 12, 2012
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Organziation partners with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy on Farm Energy Efficiency project.

Source: Idaho Dairymen’s Association news release

TWIN FALLS, IDAHO — The Industry Relations Committee of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association (IDA) board of directors is leading an awareness effort in partnership with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, USDA-Natural Resources and Conservation Services, EnSave, and others in the state to help dairy producers to increase energy efficiency, cut costs and save energy.

“These are tough, economic times and producers are struggling to cash flow their farms,” says Tony VanderHulst, IDA’s new dairy producer president. “So, looking at every opportunity for helping them to find savings makes good business sense. We want our Farm Energy Efficiency effort to connect Idaho producers with information that will benefit their farms. The first step will be to encourage producers to get an energy audit that breaks down their energy bill and identifies areas for improvement. The second is to connect them to funds and services which allow them to make changes.”

The campaign kicked off last week at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the United Dairymen of Idaho at the Boise Center. Don Schriver, representing Dairy Management, Inc. and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, spoke about the Innovation Center’s efforts and the economic benefits of doing more with less (energy).

“The Farm Energy Efficiency project is one of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy’s projects that is focused on promoting the value of an energy audit in helping producers identify best practices and equipment upgrades that can save them money and make their operations more efficient,” Schriver said. “The goal is 7,200 energy audits conducted on farms by 2020. We can save a lot of energy by just rolling up our sleeves and going after the ‘low hanging fruit’ -- energy conservation and energy efficiency.”

An energy audit is a farm-specific analysis of energy use and recommendations to reduce energy usage or ways to increase production using the same amount of fuel or electricity. It generally identifies savings opportunities between 10% to 35%, which can lead to thousands of dollars in annual savings.

Dairy producers can use an energy audit to identify specific opportunities to save, and then implement the recommendations to achieve those savings. While every dairy operation is different, research shows that the best way for producers to identify the greatest opportunity for savings on their energy bills is to get a farm audit.

According to EnSave, agricultural energy leader and partner on the Innovation Center’s national awareness effort for farm energy efficiency, a qualified farm energy audit is an important step towards better energy efficiency and adds value to dairy operations, regardless of size, type or age.

“An energy audit breaks down the utility bill and pinpoints the location and amount of energy being used on the dairy and provides recommendations for the best improvements,” said Schriver.

Available now: Farm energy audit funds

The Idaho Farm Energy Efficiency Steering Committee wants producers to know about an immediate energy-saving opportunity. Idaho producers, who are interested in energy savings, are urged to apply for funds at their local Natural Resources and Conservation Service office that will pay for an energy audit through Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

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