- Agronomic: barley, canola, corn, oats, potatoes, rapeseed, rye, soybeans, sugarbeets, sunflower, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Additional Plants: native plants, ornamentals
- Animals: bovine, poultry, swine
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: feed/forage
- Education and Training: extension, workshop
- Energy: bioenergy and biofuels, energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, solar energy, wind power
- Farm Business Management: risk management
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Northeast farms are often constricted by capital and staff resources and do not have the knowledge to address energy issues that are central to farm economic and environmental sustainability. Energy is often underrepresented in farm outreach activities in the Northeast due to a lack of energy literacy among agricultural service providers, a lack of comprehensive, regionally-appropriate, and practical support materials, and a disjointed network of experts and stakeholders to support field service providers. The need and desire for energy-related information in the region is prevalent, as demonstrated by two recent surveys of the agricultural service provider and farming communities. To address this gap, the Farm Energy IQ program will develop a comprehensive curriculum and practical toolkit for educators’ use. The curriculum will be designed to increase knowledge among Northeast regional agricultural educators and service providers (ASPs) in wide-ranging energy topics including energy efficiency, energy use and procurement, and on-farm power generation; the toolkit will bolster educators’ ability to provide energy programing in their communities. The train-the-trainer approach goes beyond simple workshops; incorporating a toolkit and lesson plans for community energy programming, hosting monthly interactive webinars to enforce content matter and engage participants, supporting outreach assignments that will result in measurable on-farm energy use and cost savings, and fostering an active network of support for regional farm energy issues. This project aims to improve energy literacy among 120 participating ASPs, provide hands-on outreach to at least 120 farms, triple the amount of energy-related community programming in the Northeast, and foster a network of awareness and support throughout the Northeast region’s community of 135,000 farms. Expected outcomes include development of an accurate and relevant energy toolkit for Northeast ASPs, increased confidence among participants to speak to the community about energy, participants’ use of practical resources through the Toolkit and a peer network to aid energy-related project implementation, and the implementation of 60 regional farm energy projects resulting in 500 kW demand savings across the region.
Performance targets from proposal:
1. (December 2013) Research-based, peer-reviewed curriculum and Farm Energy IQ Toolkit are ready to support ASPs in their farm energy programming activities.
2. (December 2013) Publicity targeted to ASPs raises awareness of scheduled Farm Energy IQ workshops.
3. (December 2014) 120 ASPs develop increased knowledge and confidence in teaching energy topics through training in one of three, 3-day Farm Energy IQ workshops located in three Northeastern states coordinated with regional sponsors.
4. (June 2015) 120 ASPs increase confidence in subject matter attain practical experience using program materials by delivering energy programming throughout their respective communities (e.g., Farm Bureau, Rotary Club).
5. (June 2015) 60 ASPs engage two or more farm operators to the decision-making process in implementing energy-related changes and establishing pre-implementation metrics.
6. (June 2015) 60 ASPs complete the first round analysis and measure implementation with farm owners/operators. ASPs will engage the support network as needed for guidance and help. Upon measure implementation, ASPS document program results and report savings towards meeting performance target goals.
60 ASPs triple the aggregate hours spent conducting energy-related educational programming in the Northeast from their pre-workshop levels. 60 ASPs will provide energy-related services to at least 120 regional farmers with support of regional network. At least 60 farm operators will make changes (50% adoption rate) that produce 500 kW of demand reduction (using generally accepted engineering calculations).