Energy conservation: Impact on the bottom line

Helping Michigan farmers reduce their energy expenses is the focus of one-day workshops being held around the state.

Farming operations use an extraordinary amount of energy. According to a 2013 USDA report entitled “Agriculture’s Supply and Demand for Energy and Energy Products”, energy requirements can be as much as 34 percent of a farm’s total costs. Helping Michigan farmers reduce their energy expenses is the focus of a series of one-day workshops being held around the state. Farmers who have attended past meetings have:

  • Reduced overall farm energy expenses.
  • Leveraged utility company rebates and Federal grants and low interest loans to implement energy conservation practices recommended by an audit.
  • Applied for and received renewable energy project funding.

Michigan farmers have enjoyed great success in getting USDA grant dollars. The spike in approved renewable energy and energy efficiency projects began in 2009 when USDA Rural Development required Tier II energy audits to be completed by auditors who were certified by the MSU energy auditor training program. MSU studies have shown that, on average, agricultural operations realize a 40 percent reduction in energy expenses over a 3.8 year payback period when recommended energy conservation practices are implemented.

At each workshop, attendees will hear from energy specialists from Michigan State University Extension. Utility and electric cooperative representatives will discuss rebate options and opportunities. Farmers will talk about their experience in implementing energy conservation practices during a panel discussion. Attendees will also receive practical instruction from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services and Rural Development personnel on applying for grant dollars for energy conservation practices. Please join us at the location nearest your farm!

Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Location: Smith Hall, 800 Sickles St, St. Johns, MI 48879

Date: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Location: DTE Energy North Area Energy Center, 4100 Doerr Road, Cass City, MI 48726

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Location: Olive Township Hall, 6480 136th Avenue, Holland, MI 49424

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Location: Hillsdale County Extension Office, 20 Care Drive, Suite B, Hillsdale, MI 49242

The programs run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at each site and will include lunch. There is a $15 registration fee to participate in this program. The same program will be offered at each meeting site. Registration information and the agenda can be found at If you have questions about the program, contact Charles Gould, Michigan State University Extension Educator at 616/994-4547 or

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