|A two-year pilot project showcasing the benefits of energy efficiency on farms in the Lethbridge area, was launched today on a dairy farm near Monarch, Alberta.
The OnFarm Energy Efficiency Program will help Alberta dairy, swine and poultry producers reduce costs and improve environmental performance through increased energy efficiency of their operations.
The $1-million program is a partnership between Climate Change Central and the Agricultural Technology Centre of Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD). The initiative is funded by Alberta Innovation and Science’s Innovation Program and AAFRD.
George VanderBurg, Acting Minister of Innovation and Science points out, “The Innovation Program is designed to accelerate the application of new knowledge in Alberta. Helping farmers adopt energy efficient technologies and practices improves competitiveness of our agricultural sector and contributes to the prosperity of our rural communities.”
“Alberta producers have always had a strong connection to the environment,” said Doug Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. “I believe this program provides producers with an opportunity to manage their operations more efficiently and improve on their environmental practices.”
“This innovative pilot project demonstrates the importance of making energy efficiency a priority wherever possible in order to further protect our environment,” said Alberta Environment Minister Guy Boutilier. “Once again, Alberta is leading the country in creating practical solutions to environmental concerns.”
The program will feature 100 energy efficiency audits of farms in the Lethbridge area, providing producers with recommendations and costs of improvements, financing options and environmental benefits. The goal is to create a regional network that includes equipment, supplies, services and financing required for long-term uptake of energy efficiency improvements on farms.
“We recognize that energy use on farms is not the only challenge facing the farming community today,” said Simon Knight, President and CEO of Climate Change Central. “This is an important step towards helping these operations maintain their competitiveness while helping the environment.”
Other funding support comes from ATCO EnergySense, the SouthGrow Regional Initiative, Agrium, Dow AgroSciences, and the Lethbridge Dairy Mart.