Funding is now available for farms to evaluate their energy use through an energy audit. Grants are available through the "Pennsylvania Farm Energy Audits Program" to offset the cost of the energy audit, so farms can discover energy "sinks", or where the farm is losing energy, and find ways to reduce energy costs.
The Pennsylvania Farm Energy Audit Program is a partnership between USDA Rural Development, Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Center for Dairy Excellence and Penn State Cooperative Extension.
"The center is pleased to partner with the USDA, CRCDC and Penn State to promote this opportunity to Pennsylvania's dairy farms," said John Frey, executive director of the Center for Dairy Excellence. "A successful farm is an efficient farm, and we believe an energy audit can uncover hidden opportunities to reduce energy costs and enhance the bottom line."
Through the program, the USDA will offset the cost of the audit, up to 75 percent, leaving only 25 percent to the farmer's responsibility. The program will pay the service provider directly for 75 percent of the cost, and it will offer a resource list to find additional funds to pay for improvements identified in the audit.
Funding for audits is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and limited to commercial farms. To apply, the farm must contact a partner in the program to request an application. The farm must also submit a cost quote with the application. Once the application is approved, Penn State ag energy specialists or specially-trained private consultants will conduct the energy audit.
An application and additional information are available online at http://extension.psu.edu/energy/farmers-landowners
. Click on "PA Farm Energy Audits Program." You can also contact Alan Zepp at the Center for Dairy Excellence at 717-346-0849 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
for additional information.