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Nebraska partners to provide energy answers for new farmers, ranchers

Hamburg Reporter

Energy is not always the first thing a new farmer or rancher thinks about when getting started, but it is a critical component of any successful farm.  To help get folks off on the right foot, Nebraska Extension, in partnership with Extension programs from several other states and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), have developed a new series of extension materials designed specifically with new farmers in mind.  

The series, "Energy Answers for the Beginning Farmer & Rancher,” utilizes farm energy experts from university extension programs across the country to answer pressing energy questions.  The main product of the project is a series of short, engaging videos and resources that give useful tips and information on farm energy.  

"Energy is typically one of the highest ongoing costs of any farm operation," says project manager Siobhan Fathel of Penn State.  "These resources act as the first step to better managing your energy costs and needs.” 

 In addition to the short, engaging videos, there are also links to complementary materials designed to aid beginning farmers and ranchers in making informed decisions about on-farm energy.  For example, the “Online Energy Selector” developed by the project team helps farmers compare and select the heating fuel that will give them the best value for their dollar.  

Topics addressed in the video series include: 

Can I use biodiesel in farm diesel engines? 

How can I save on the cost of grain drying? 

Where can I find money to implement energy efficiency measures? 

How to select LED lights for agriculture? 

How to determine pellet durability  

Why do an energy audit on your farm? 

Is wood heat right for you? 

How can proper livestock ventilation save energy & feed? 

What is it like to apply for farm energy incentive programs like REAP? 

How to choose a heating fuel? 

How to save money by understanding your electric bill? 

How to choose proper livestock ventilation fans?  

How do I size a cooler for on-farm produce storage? 

How to design an energy-efficient hydroponic system? 

Solar-on-a-farm series 

These videos are posted on the project team's YouTube channel, Energy Answers for the Beginning Farmer & Rancher. Additional resources can be found online at https://farm-energy.extension.org/energy-answers-for-the-beginning-farmer-and-rancher/. Contributing extension programs include Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin.