A new task force is coordinating efforts across the state to increase energy conservation and efficiency efforts on Iowa farms. It met for the first time in October at Iowa State University.
The task force will be overseeing the new statewide Farm Energy Conservation and Efficiency educational initiative. The purpose is to increase farmers’ awareness of opportunities for improving efficient use of farm energy. The initiative also will help farmers explore alternatives to reduce farm energy demand and to improve their farms’ overall profitability in a rapidly changing energy environment.
Iowa State University Extension received a grant from the Iowa Energy Center to carry out the initiative. Extension and the Iowa Energy Center are cooperating with Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO), the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, Consumers Energy, Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy, Office of Energy Independence and USDA in the effort.
According to ISU Extension program coordinator Jane Flammang, the energy industry has developed all kinds of materials to help homeowners and manufacturers adopt energy conservation and efficiency measures. But similar materials for agriculture are rare. As part of the initiative, ISU Extension will be creating a “new generation” of educational materials to fill this gap. Targeted to livestock and crop producers, the materials will build awareness about all aspects of energy use on the farm and boost farmers’ “energy literacy.”
The goal is to help Iowa’s agricultural producers make better decisions about managing energy inputs in the farm business and make choices that are sustainable long-term and good for their farm’s bottom line, Flammang said.
As the new educational materials become available, ISU Extension will share them with extension specialists, energy sector personnel and other interested parties who work with farmer clients, Flammang added. The first publication, “How Much Energy Is Being Used on Your Farm? – Farm Energy Series” (PM 2089A) is available from the Extension Online Store.
For more information, contact Flammang at firstname.lastname@example.org.