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Agricultural News

NRCS Offers Financial Assistance for Energy Savings on Agricultural Operations

Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:03:34 CST

NRCS Offers Financial Assistance for Energy Savings on Agricultural Operations As one of the major users of energy in the American economy, the agricultural industry is seeing affects on their own economic sustainability due to high cost of energy inputs. As a result, many producers are beginning to look for ways to conserve energy and reduce energy costs in their operations. Through energy conservation measures, producers not only receive a positive incentive in their pocketbook, but they also help to reduce reliance on fossil fuels; conserving our natural resources.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service recently announced an opportunity for agricultural producers to receive financial assistance for energy conservation through the On-Farm Energy Initiative. The On-Farm Energy Initiative can assist producers who wish to reduce energy use in two ways. First, the program will offer financial assistance to producers who wish to hire technical Service Providers (TSPs) who will develop a type II energy audit. The energy audit can identify potential energy saving activities that the producer can implement in the farm headquarters or on the landscape through changes in tillage or other management. Second, the On-Farm Energy Initiative can provide assistance for the implementation of recommended practices. While an audit is encouraged to identify those practices which will conserve energy, assistance is available for a variety of energy saving practices even without an existing audit. The On-Farm Energy Audit/Implementation Initiative is offered through NRCS, which provides technical and financial assistance for this purpose through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

To receive financial assistance for development of an On-Farm Energy audit, applicants must be an agricultural producer and meet the same eligibility rules as required for Environmental Quality Incentives Program participation. In addition, NRCS will offer assistance for energy audits, only if they are developed by a certified TSP. Interested applicants can find a list of certified TSPs on the Tech Reg website. To receive financial assistance for implementation of practices to conserve energy, applicants must show that the practice will save energy over existing management practices. NRCS provides "energy estimator" tools to help farmers and ranchers make energy-efficient conservation practice decisions. Energy estimators include: Animal Housing, Irrigation, Nitrogen, and Tillage. All NRCS Energy Estimator Tools can be found by clicking here.   

Applications for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program are accepted on a continuous basis. However, only eligible applications received by March 3, 2012 will be considered for funding in the current funding cycle. For more information about energy audits, please visit contact your local NRCS field office by clicking here.



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