2017 Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference: making the energy conservation investment

Farmers say Return on Investment is the most important consideration.

When farmers were asked at last year’s Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference to rank the factors they would use when deciding to implement a renewable energy or energy conservation project, they said return on investment was their most important consideration. This insight has been the guiding principle in shaping the content of the 2017 Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference which will be held on Thursday, March 9 at the Kellogg Center at MSU in East Lansing, Michigan. Many of the speakers who will be presenting at the conference have this information and will share it with conference attendees. 

Farmers will have the opportunity to attend workshops on a wide variety of topics. Some of presentations include the following:

  • Lighting is one of the simplest, yet most cost-effective ways to reduce energy expenses. Proper lighting can increase milk production and affect cow behavior. Al Go with the MSU Biosystems Engineering Department will present his findings on a long day lighting project that increased milk production by eight percent on a Michigan dairy farm.
  • One way to save money on energy is to pay less for it. Sanju Guinn with Consumers Energy will explain how a rate analysis can be used to reduce energy expenses.
  • Evaluating the financial prudence of an investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) requires careful consideration of system costs, the value of electricity production, and operation and maintenance costs. Eric Romich with Ohio State University Extension will give a three-part presentation designed to increase farmer knowledge of solar PV energy development and the financial considerations needed to guide informed decision-making with future investments.
  • Greg Mulder will talk about using inverter-based irrigation motors driven by solar power to reduce utility power usage. Greg is a Net Zero Building Advisor with extensive agricultural renewable energy expertise.
  • Switchgrass can be used as a solid fuel and as a livestock and poultry bedding. Ruben Gaitan, a switchgrass grower in West Michigan, will talk about new switchgrass market opportunities for Michigan farmers.
  • An energy audit is the gateway to accessing funding to implement the practices recommended by an energy audit. Two complete conference tracks are devoted to providing farmers with information on how to access rebates from utilities and grants and low interest loans from USDA.

The complete agenda can be found on the Extension events page. The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. The registration fee is $40 per person or $75 for two people from the same farm. The registration fee gives attendees access to vendors, speakers, educational material and includes lunch. To register for the conference visit the event page. Online registration closes March 5.

Vendor and registration questions can be directed to Betsy Braid at 517-884-7081 or braidbet@msu.edu

All other questions can be directed to Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or gouldm@msu.edu.

Additional articles in this series:

Why would a dairy farmer attend the Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference?

Why would a poultry producer attend the Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference?

Two ways farms can save money on energy: Use less and pay less

Choosing the right small wind electric or solor photovoltaic system for your farm

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