Renewable energy production on Washington farms and ranches

Renewable energy production on Washington farms and ranches

Washington Ag Today February 28, 2011 Results are in on the USDA’s first-ever nationwide survey that looked at renewable energy practices on American farms and ranches. The survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service counted wind turbines, solar panels and methane digesters.

Nationally about 85-hundred farms are generating renewable energy from the sources surveyed. In Washington it’s 217 farms. Those numbers might not seem like much given there are around two-million farms in the U.S. and about 35-thousand in Washington, but Kevin Barnes with NASS says;

Barnes: “I think what hit me is the significant growth that has taken place in the past five year. How quickly this has taken off in a five-year period. You see more than double and quadruple the growth in some cases. And that makes me wonder where is this going to go.”

USDA says farmers in Washington with wind, solar or methane digester energy production on their operations saved about 11-hundred-81 dollars in energy costs in 2009.

Nationally solar panels were the most prominent way to produce on-farm energy and that is the case in Washington too where 205 farms and ranches reported having either photovoltaic or thermal solar panels. Fifty Washington operations reported having wind turbines. USDA did not breakout the number of methane digesters for Washington but lumped them in a category with other states. The state’s dairy industry says there are at least four digesters in Washington.

I’m Bob Hoff and that’s Washington Ag Today on Northwest Aginfo Net.


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