The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding its On-Farm Energy Audit/Implementation Initiative to help producers, through financial assistance, implement the energy conservation and efficiency recommendations that result from an energy audit.

The original initiative assisted farmers and ranchers in conducting the on-farm energy audits, which are tailored to each agricultural operation's primary energy uses. The audits help producers determine the amount of energy used by the entire operation and also identify short- and long-term measures producers can implement to conserve energy and achieve greater energy efficiencies. "Providing producers with the opportunity to assess their energy usage and make needed improvements can save money while also benefiting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. 


The Initiative is offered through the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, which provides technical and financial assistance for this purpose through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Producers who have had an on-farm energy audit conducted that meets or exceeds the criteria of an EQIP Agricultural Energy Management Plan may now apply for technical and financial assistance to implement the audit's recommendations. Interested producers should contact their local NRCS office to determine their state's specific deadline and payment schedule. Application deadlines may be no later than February 25, 2011.