Workshop helps farmers plug into energy savings
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Energy savings can be found all over the average farm, and a workshop sponsored in part by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service will help farmers identify energy-wasting operations and make necessary changes.
The Farm Energy Conservation Workshop takes place from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Maple Hill Farms, 1530 S. West Washington School Road, Salem.
Chad Martin, Purdue Extension renewable energy specialist, and Andy Susemichel, owner and energy auditor for EMAX, will talk about an energy audit recently conducted for Maple Hill Farms, a grain and livestock operation. Energy audits show how electricity and gas can be used more efficiently.
"Oftentimes producers might not know where to start to make their farms more energy efficient, or even how to make the necessary improvements," Martin said. "We want to help them as energy bills become more and more an input challenge."
Common farm equipment that often can be replaced or retrofitted with energy-saving parts includes grain dryers, light fixtures, heating/cooling systems, auger motors and heavy machinery, Martin said.
Martin and Susemichel will discuss facility cost analysis, who can perform energy audits, what audits cost and the various tools used to perform audits.
Other workshop topics and speakers are:
* "Understanding Your Electric Bill" -- Brian Wolka of Jackson County REMC and Mark Belcher of Orange County REMC. The session includes a discussion of demand, single- versus three-phase electric systems and minimum charge.
* "Understanding Your Gas Bill," including natural gas and propane.
* "Funding Sources to Help Implement Changes" -- Marcia Comer of U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Tracy Soliday of USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) and Wes McFarland of Hoosier Energy. The session will cover Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants, FSA loan facilities and utility incentives.
Attendees can bring old incandescent light bulbs and exchange them for compact fluorescent bulbs, courtesy of REMC. Maple Hill Farms will provide lunch.
In addition to the businesses and agencies mentioned above, other workshop sponsors include White River Resource Conservation & Development, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Registration is $5 before Aug. 18 and $7 thereafter. To register online, log onto the events page of the White River RC&D website at http://www.whiteriverrcd.org/Upcoming-Events.html. Registration also can be completed by calling 812-883-3704, ext. 5, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415, email@example.com
Sources: Chad Martin, 765-496-3964, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kris Vance, coordinator, Lincoln Hills and White River RC&D, 812-883-3704, email@example.com