Farming is an energy intensive industry. Over the years, farmers have reduced their energy costs by utilizing alternative energy sources to supplement their energy inputs or by increasing energy efficiency on their operations.
There are several programs that provide technical or financial assistance to farmers to help them meet their energy needs. Two of these programs that are highly utilized by the agricultural community can be found below.
AERLP - Funding a Renewable Future
The Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program (AERLP) was created by the Iowa Legislature in 1996 to promote the development of renewable energy production facilities in the state. The $5.9 million in AERLP funds were provided entirely through Iowa's investor-owned utilities, and the Iowa Energy Center was chosen by the legislature to manage the program. The Energy Center has developed the AERLP in such a way that loans are given based on both the technical merit of a project and the financial qualifications of the applicant. The Energy Center provides loan funds equal to 50% of the total financed cost of a project (up to $1 million) at 0% interest. Matching financing for the project must be obtained from a lender of the applicant's choice. As these loans are repaid, the Energy Center's share of funds become available for loans to future projects.
AERLP funds serve a balanced mix of technologies including solar, biomass, small hydro and small and large wind turbine facilities.
To learn more about the Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program and other assistance from the Iowa Energy Center, click here.
Click here to visit the Iowa Energy Center website.
ISU Energy Initiative
Through the Farm Energy Initiative, ISU Extension is creating educational energy related materials for livestock and crop producers. This information helps farmers build awareness about all aspects of energy use on the farm and will boost farmers' energy literacy. The goal is to help Iowa's farmers make better decisions about managing energy inputs, which will improve the farm's bottom line.
You can download these publications at the ISU Farm Energy Initiative website. Many of new resources at this site can help you save energy and dollars on your farming operation. This site is a simple, user-friendly resource for farmers, educators and energy providers. You'll have free access to the entire Farm Energy publication series, including new topics as they are published. Additional information is available from Extension, which is a network of a number of land grant universities in the United States.
The ISU Farm Energy Initiative is sponsored by a grant from the Iowa Energy Center. In addition to the Iowa Farm Bureau, partners include the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, USDA Rural Development, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Central Iowa Power Cooperative as well as Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy.
For more information on these energy programs, contact Iowa Farm Bureau Bioeconomy Manager Denny Harding.