When looking at operating costs on your farm or ranch, many of your energy costs could be flying out the window — literally. Powering your farm or ranch is likely one of your largest operating expenses, and when energy is wasted, it can put a strain on your budget. As a farm owner, you want every dollar to stretch as far as possible. An energy audit can help as you look to improve your energy efficiency.
Consult an Energy Professional
In order to be eligible for grant funds, an energy audit must be completed by a Technical Service Provider (TSP), who will help you plan, design and implement conservation practices or improve agricultural operations. TSPs are trained professionals that provide one-on-one consultations and a plan tailored to your farm or ranch. A TSP will charge you for their service, but often the savings from the improvements they suggest will offset the cost of their services.
Identify Areas of Improvement
An energy audit will analyze your facilities, utility bills and energy usage. Whether you are concerned with rising energy costs, or are looking for cost-sharing opportunities, it can be worth your time to work with an energy professional. The energy professional will perform an energy audit where the goal is to find areas where you can improve, both in energy costs and environmental impacts.
Look for Financial Assistance
In addition to suggesting improvements specific to your operation, an energy audit can pave the way for funding that will help offset the cost of improvements. You may consider a few of the following programs:
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) On-Farm Energy Initiative helps farmers and ranchers make voluntary improvements that can boost energy efficiency on the farm. The goal of the program is to help farmers reduce operation costs and improve productivity.
- Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides grants and loans to farmers and rural businesses that are interested in making energy efficiency improvements. The program supports renewable energy sources, including wind and solar energy.
- Local electric cooperatives will often offer rebates for improvements that improve efficiency. Check local resources for details on what is available in your area.
Trim Your Expenses
Wondering what the energy assessment may identify? The audit may provide suggestions like adding spray insulation to shop buildings, implementing a new grain dryer system, or installing LED lightbulbs that last longer and use less energy. You can also make simple improvements yourself, like applying weather stripping or installing motion-activated lights, to reduce your energy usage. Making energy-efficient improvements can stretch your operating budget further by helping you save money on your energy expenses.
At Farm Bureau, we want to help you make your farm or ranch as productive and efficient as it can be. We are here to protect your farm or ranch, including any improvements you make to your operation. Contact your local Farm Bureau agent to learn more about protecting your investment.