Tags: farmers | ways | cut | energy | expenses

Farmers: 6 Ways to Cut Energy Expenses

By    |   Tuesday, 24 May 2016 09:35 AM

Energy is the largest expense for a farm, and cutting energy costs can have a dramatic effect on the bottom line for an agricultural operation.

An energy audit can help farmers get a better understanding of their energy usage and what improvements stand to yield the biggest benefits. Ag extension offices and energy providers can be helpful resources for farmers seeking to cut energy expenses.

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Here are six ways to cut energy expenses.

1. Incentives — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers grants and loans for renewable energy projects and energy efficiency improvements. Many states and local governments also have incentive programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

2. Equipment maintenance — Keeping equipment well maintained can save in fuel consumption, according to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. SARE recommends keeping tractor tires properly inflated, and air and fuel filters, bearings, and belts in clean working order.

3. Building design — Farmers can cut costs and maximize temperature control and lighting through careful building design that incorporates windows, skylights, and proper insulation, SARE said.

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4. Tap natural energy resources — Another way farmers can cut energy expenses is by taking advantage of their environment, tapping into wind, solar, or biomass energy sources on the farm. Most farms that opt to produce renewable energy choose solar, PBS NewsHour reported.

5. Temperature control — Energy-intensive dairy farms have numerous opportunities to cut energy expenses, including systems that cool milk and keep water tanks from freezing, The Denver Post reported. Insulated water tanks that prevent water from freezing save on electric heaters that cost about $20 a day to operate, the newspaper noted. Some dairy farmers have also cut the cost of cooling milk by first running it through pipes inside larger pipes carrying water.

6. Lighting — Replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent, metal halide, high-pressure sodium, or mercury vapor lighting can reduce energy usage, Agriculture.com noted.

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Energy is the largest expense for a farm, and cutting energy costs can have a dramatic effect on the bottom line for an agricultural operation.
farmers, ways, cut, energy, expenses
Tuesday, 24 May 2016 09:35 AM
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