NRCS Offers Help for Agricultural Energy Audits Individual energy audits will help Arizona producers reduce energy use

PHOENIX, May 25, 2010 — Arizona farmers, ranchers, dairies, nursery growers, and other agricultural producers can apply for financial help to get an energy audit for their operation. The deadline to apply for fiscal year 2010 funding is June 18.  Arizona is one of 29 states offering this energy audit help, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service is administering the program.

“These energy audits are very specific to each agriculture operation,” said NRCS State Conservationist David McKay. This can help the agriculture community improve air quality, use less water, and save energy for Arizona in many ways,” said McKay.

NRCS Arizona has funds to award approximately 30 applications, which will pay approximately 75-to-90 percent of the costs of an energy audit. The audit is the short-term goal of the financial help, with a longer term goal of developing an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP).

An AgEMP is an analysis of current farm infrastructure and management with recommendations to reduce energy consumption on the farm. This includes purchased fuels, electricity and renewable energy sources used to perform farm activities. A plan can be developed for each farm enterprise, such as a livestock production system, a field crop system, and specialized non-livestock operations such as greenhouses and cold storage. This provides the farmer with cost effective ways to reduce operating costs while saving energy.

The advantages of energy conservation includes reducing air pollutants, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, reducing dependence on petroleum based products, and slowing escalation of energy costs due to lower demand.Arizona agricultural producers can learn more and apply by visiting one of the 24 local NRCS field offices in the state or by calling 602-280-8842.

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