Stutzman Poultry Farm has completely switched to solar power at its White Pigeon farm this month, with the completed installation of its new solar array. Stutzman is the first and only broiler farm in Michigan to run on solar power.
The 870 panels will supply 425,000 kilowatts of energy annually, supplying enough power to run the entire farm over the course of one year. The farm banks energy during sunny months, storing it for colder and cloudier winter months when the panels will not gather as much energy. The system even produces carbon offsets, available for purchase by other businesses.
“The switch to solar was an easy choice for the future of our farm, to ensure that our grandkids can continue to operate our farm long into the future, in a way that is healthy for our community and our planet,” said Mat Stutzman, third-generation farm owner. “Our commitment to green energy carries on our legacy of sustainability, which started when my grandfather began farming here in 1961, with smarter land and water management, planting cover crops and utilizing organic fertilizers.”
The farm has been working on the solar energy project for about two years. Stutzmans received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Energy for America (REAP) program, for part of the project’s total $650,000 cost.
“This is our first project in this area of the state, and it’s an excellent model for others looking to switch to solar energy,” said Jason Allen, USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan. “USDA Rural Development is working closely with local farms to support renewable energy, and I urge other rural businesses to contact us to see how we can help them.”
Michigan broilers are a lean and healthy source of protein grown by family farms primarily located in southern Michigan. Today, Michigan farmers raise over 6.2 million broilers annually on 20 family farms. Stutzman Poultry Farm contract raises their broiler chickens for Miller Poultry, who markets them under the Miller Amish Country, Katie’s Best and Pine Manor Farms brands in stores across the country.
“Today’s consumers are looking for local, sustainable food, and Stutzmans are giving people an excellent option for Michigan-raised sustainable chicken, the number one protein consumed by Americans,” said Allison Brink, executive director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries. “The family’s leadership in in the industry and their community, combined with Mat’s leadership on our board of directors, is a real asset to Michigan’s poultry industry.”