Energy Conservation, Efficiency and Production
NRCS in Massachusetts works with agricultural producers and private landowners to improve agricultural energy conservation and efficiency, support the sustainable production of renewable energy for farms, produce biomass energy feedstocks in a sustainable manner, and reduce greenhouse gases. Technical and financial support is available through certain NRCS programs.
Program Opportunities: On-Farm Energy Site Assessment
Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) are an opportunity for Massachusetts agricultural producers to identify how to be more energy efficient and save on energy costs. An AgEMP is an analysis of current farm infrastructure and management with recommendations about how to reduce energy consumption on the farm. An agricultural operation may be eligible for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and from NRCS conservation partners.
More details are available on this AgEMP fact sheet (AA).
An anaerobic digester is a component of a waste management system that provides biological treatment of manure and other byproducts generated from livestock or other agricultural operations. The purposes of this practice may include capturing biogas for energy production, managing odors, reducing the net effect of greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing pathogens. Support for anaerobic digesters may be available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and NRCS conservation partners.
Other Conservation Practices That Save Energy
Certain NRCS conservation practices impact energy conservation, energy efficiency, biofuel feedstock production, or renewable energy, even though energy may not be the primary resource concern addressed by a practice. Support for these is offered through conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Examples of these conservation practices include: tillage management, prescribed grazing systems, nutrient management, efficient irrigation pumping plants, irrigation water management, and forage and biomass planting. NRCS has feature articles on some of these conservation practices that save energy.
Conservation Innovation Grants
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal entities. CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the nation's most pressing natural resource concerns. Energy is one of the categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding.
Energy Consumption Awareness Tools
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has developed energy tools for animal housing, irrigation pumping requirements, nitrogen use and fuel use for tillage. They are designed to increase energy awareness in agriculture and to help farmers identify where they can reduce their energy costs. The results generated by these tools are estimates based on NRCS models and are illustrative of the magnitude of savings.
Grants and loans for Massachusetts energy projects may be available from non-NRCS sources that include: the State of Massachusetts, the USDA Farm Services Agency and USDA Rural Development.