When a significant amount of the average Colorado farms average power bill is over $30-thousand a year it’s important that you look for every possible way to save money. You start with the simple things like energy saving light bulbs and using timers. But eventually you need to start thinking outside the box.
GRAY: One of those tools that some irrigators are utilizing are microhydro turbines that power irrigation sprinklers. Microhydro utilizes surrounding terrain and water to create a mini hydroelectric power generator usually from a nearby stream. The small generators then produce enough power to run irrigation systems without the need for purchasing power or fuel for generators.
MARTIN: Of course there are upfront costs but in the long run this kind of system would easily pay for itself. Of course if you don’t have any running water or significant elevations on your farm this wouldn’t work for you but many producers are looking into the benefits.
GRAY: There are programs available through USDA like their Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP which provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers for the planning and implementation of natural resource conservation efforts for a variety of projects. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has also partnered with the NRCS, Rural Development and the Colorado Energy Office to promote the development of these systems and offer another potential match in funding.
And that’s Colorado Ag Today. I’m Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.