April 29, 2010
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced an initiative to use $2 million in FY2010 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding to help farmers and ranchers conserve energy and reduce energy costs.
Farmers and ranchers may apply for the funding in the following 29 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The State Conservationists in these states have chosen to provide EQIP resources in 2010 for the Conservation Activity Plan of Agricultural Energy Management.
The initiative involves two steps. The first is an energy audit to determine energy used in farm activities such as milk cooling, irrigation pumping, heating and cooling of livestock production facilities, manure collection and transfer, grain drying, and other common on-farm activities. The energy audit will identify activities where the farm could be more energy efficient. The second step is the development of an agricultural energy management plan for cost-effective implementation of recommendations for saving energy identified in the energy audit.
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized NRCS to cost-share of up to 75 percent of the cost of developing an Agricultural Energy Management Plan. Eligible farmers and ranchers apply for the funding at their local NRCS office and then enlist a certified Technical Service Provider who can help develop the plan. NRCS has a webpage with information on locating Technical Service Providers who can assist with agricultural energy management plans.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment