EAST LANSING, Mich. — The best energy is the energy you never have to use. The cheapest source of energy is conservation and increased energy efficiency. Michigan dairy farmers have an opportunity to learn how to reduce energy consumption and expenses at the Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference on March 9 at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus. On average, energy accounts for 34 percent of a farm’s total expense. This conference will provide dairy farmers with information that will help them reduce that 34 percent expense. Examples include the following:
- Lighting is one of the simplest, yet most cost effective ways to reduce energy expenses. Proper lighting can increase milk production and affect cow behavior. Al Go with the MSU Biosystems Engineering Department will present his findings on a long day lighting project that increased milk production by 8 percent on a Michigan dairy farm.
- One way to save money on energy is to pay less for it. Sanju Guinn with Consumers Energy will explain how a rate analysis can be used to reduce energy expenses.
- An energy audit is a study of energy usage conducted for the purpose of saving energy and money. Dan Schrauben, a certified agricultural auditor, will provide tips on preparing for an audit.
- An energy audit is the gateway to accessing funding to implement the practices recommended by the audit. Two complete conference tracks are devoted to providing farmers with information on how to access rebates from utilities and grants and low interest loans from USDA.
These are four examples of many speaker topics related to energy conservation that will be discussed at the conference. The complete conference schedule and registration can be found at Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference event page. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. The registration fee is $40 per person or $75 for two people from the same farm. The registration fee gives attendees access to vendors, speakers, educational material and includes lunch. Online registration closes March 5.