North Carolina workshop to tackle on-farm energy costs

Coping with the high costs of energy on the farm is the focus of a July 12 workshop at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro, N.C.

The workshop — Fueling the Farm: Managing Energy Risks and Reducing Energy Costs and Exploring Alternative Energy Sources — is sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and CEFS.

With oil prices near all-time highs, farmers are experiencing price increases for shipping, storage and processing, along with higher costs for nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas and propane.

As farmers seek innovative ways to cope with high and fluctuating energy costs and reduce their fuel, fertilizer and electric bills, they are also considering the possibility of generating some of their own power using wind turbines, solar panels, anaerobic digesters or biodiesel fuel.

Besides offering an overview of current and future energy use in agriculture, the workshop will show producers how to evaluate their energy saving options and how to finance and build renewable energy projects.

Participants will tour energy saving projects at Cherry Farm in Goldsboro,N.C., and breakout sessions will cover several forms of renewable energy, as well as state and federal grant and loan opportunities. Hands-on demonstrations will be emphasized.

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to help build a small-scale biodiesel processor from components costing around $300.

From 1 p.m. until 2 p.m., participants will design and build a processor that converts vegetable oil into biofuel that can be used as a replacement for or supplement to diesel fuel.

From 2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m., fuel will run through the biofuel processor.

Funding for this workshop is provided by the USDA Risk Management Agency, through a cooperative partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

Participant registration is required. To learn more about the workshop or to register, visit the CEFS Web site,

For more information about registering for the workshop contact Lisa Forehand, Extension and Outreach Coordinator Center for Environmental Farming Systems, 919.513.0954 or [email protected]

For more information about the program contact: Steve Moore, The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) 919.731.3440 or [email protected],

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