EQIP Energy Initiative Leads To Efficiency Gains For Puerto Rico Dairy Producers
NRCS and the Puerto Rico Milk Industry Development Fund (MIDF) launched an initiative last year to help dairy producers transition to more energy efficient operations. The EQIP Energy Initiative funds individual on-farm energy audits designed to save farmers both money and energy.
“This is a great opportunity for the dairy farmers in the Caribbean Area,” said NRCS Caribbean Area Director, Edwin Almodovar. “With these Agricultural Energy Management Plans, dairy farmers will be making better decisions. We are glad for this opportunity to partner with the MIDF, MIRO, PR Dept of Agriculture and EnSave.”
The energy audits are 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.
MIDF is conducting outreach and selected over 50 eligible farmers to participate in the program. They are providing financial services and outreach to private land users through certified Technical Service Provider (TSP), EnSave, Inc.
To kick-off the program, the National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils (NARC&DC) held a Farm Energy Audit Data Collector Training Certification Workshop on April 25, 2011, for 16 EnSave, PR Department of Agriculture, Extension Service and El Atlántico RC&D personnel and private engineers. Data Collector trainees learned methods for completing audits within the program and their role within the larger process.
The field training took place on three PR dairy farms and one poultry farm, where workshop participants performed visual inspections of equipment, found and recorded equipment name plate information, and most importantly worked with the farmers to collect the information needed to complete the data collection forms and enter the data collected on the forms into the electronic data collection database.
NRCS approved 64 Energy Audit contracts for eligible participants in Puerto Rico for $92,735 in FY 2011, and there are over 20 applications pending for obligation in FY 2012. Technical Service Providers have completed 57 of 64 on-farm energy audits to identify how farm operations can become more energy-efficient. Audit results were used to develop cost-effective Agricultural Energy Management Plans to reduce dairy operation costs for those 57 farms, with cost-share assistance from NRCS.
The 2012 application period has ended; applications submitted will be evaluated and considered for later funding opportunities.
EQIP On-Farm Energy Fact Sheet (PDF, 166KB)
Find a TSP near you: http://techreg.usda.gov/CustLocateTSP.aspx
Find your local NRCS office: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app
EnSave's Farm Energy Audits page: http://www.ensave.com/services/farm-energy-audits/