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Agricultural News


NRCS to Hand Out Grants for Energy Conservation and Efficiency in Oklahoma

Tue, 25 May 2010 6:06:25 CDT

NRCS to Hand Out Grants for Energy Conservation and Efficiency in Oklahoma State Conservationist Ronald L. Hilliard today announced an initiative designed to help agricultural producers transition to more energy efficient operations. This initiative will make funding available for individual on-farm energy audits designed to save both money and energy when fully implemented.

"Reducing energy use on America's farms and ranches will not only help our agricultural producers become more profitable, it will also help the United States become more energy independent," said Hilliard. "Through this initiative, producers will be able to receive individual on-farm energy audit evaluations and assistance with implementation of energy conservation and efficiency measures."

On-farm energy audit evaluations in Oklahoma will be funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in fiscal year 2010. Applications for this and other conservation programs are accepted on a continuous basis. However, applications must be submitted no later than June 18, 2010 to be considered for funding in 2010. Oklahoma expects that $90,000 will be available for the development of these energy audits during 2010. Eligible applications will be funded in the order they are received until funds are exhausted. The energy audits will be individually tailored to ensure coverage of each farm's primary energy uses such as milk cooling, irrigation pumping, heating and cooling of livestock production facilities, manure collection and transfer, grain drying, and similar common on-farm activities.

Implementation will occur in stages beginning with the short-term immediate goal of providing the on-farm energy audits to help identify how the operations can become more energy efficient. Longer term goals will involve development of agricultural energy management plans for cost effective implementation of the recommendations provided in their on-farm energy audits. All programs and services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service are provided in a nondiscriminatory manner.

The 2008 Farm Bill provides authority to use EQIP financial assistance funds for payment of practices and conservation activities involving the development of an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) appropriate for the eligible land of a program participant. The Farm Bill statute allows EQIP payments for up to 75 percent of the estimated incurred cost of practice implementation for the development of an AgEMP meeting agency standards and requirements. Energy audits must be developed by a certified Technial Service Provider (TSP). Interested producers may access the techreg website at http://techreg.usda.gov/CustLocateTSP.aspx to locate a registered TSP. NRCS will provide cost share assistance to successful applicants in the amount of $937.00 to $3,150.00 depending on the size of the operation. Eligible producers may apply for the AgEMP through application at their local NRCS office.


For more information, you can also call Kenneth Hitch at (405) 742-1208.


   

 

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