MARCH 19 CUTOFF FOR AgEMP ASSISTANCE IN SIX COUNTIES
AUBURN, Ala. -- Alabama producers with confined livestock operations in six Alabama counties may apply for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), according to the state Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Producers in Coffee, Dale, DeKalb, Colbert, Cullman and Franklin counties will be offered three level of energy plans, depending on the size of their operation. While the program is a continuous signup, the cutoff for applications for 2010 funding is March 19.
The AgEMP contains the strategy by which the producer will explore and address his/her on-farm energy problems and opportunities. The producer will hire a Technical Service Provider (see provider registry at techreg.usda.gov), which is certified to complete an AgEMP.
The AgEMP documents current energy usage over the past annual cycle, and provides cost-effective alternatives and recommendations for energy conservation of each farm enterprise. The evaluation of energy conservation activities shall include energy used in the feeding, housing and processing of farm animals and animal products. For instance, switching from incandescent to U-tube fluorescent lights can save energy needed for lighting by 75 percent. In a 40,000-bird-broiler operation, this equates to a savings of nearly 18,000 kilowatt-hours per year. At a typical electric rate of eight cents per kilowatt, this becomes a savings of over $1,400 per year per broiler house.
Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for EQIP until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. Contact your local NRCS or Farm Service Agency Office to begin this process. NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.