The farm energy efficiency program seeks to grow the viability of the state's agricultural sector through improving energy use efficiency in a cost effective and practical manner. Key to the success of this effort is the growth and development of a farm energy efficiency "community of expertise" within the state that is able to provide necessary advanced analysis and support to the agricultural sector. Also vital is the development of an energy savvy agricultural population within the state that is able to recognize energy opportunities and manage their operations in an optimized manner.
Examples of the program's outputs and efforts include:
Farm Energy Efficiency Education
Educational programming aimed at agricultural producers who are interested in improving their energy efficiency and profitability. Recent examples include an "energy on the farm" workshop in Lancaster county and "smart energy shopping" presentations in Montgomery and Berks counties.
Farm Energy Assessment Training
These workshops are designed to provide training to energy specialists and agricultural professionals who wish to develop a proficiency in on‐site farm energy assessment. These workshops include a combination of classroom and hands‐on training, and require participants to carry out and submit an independent farm energy assessment before their participation is certified. 2009 workshops included events dedicated to commercial dairy farms and commercial greenhouses.
Farm Energy Assessments
Agricultural energy specialists within the program team provide energy assessment support to local farmers on an "available resources" basis. This can take the form of telephonic or electronic discussion to support a farmer's self‐assessment efforts, or can include a full audit of the facility in question. In general the program seeks to complement available expertise in the private sector rather than compete.
Analysis Tools and Educational Materials
The farm energy efficiency program team continually develops and expands upon available tools and materials for farm energy efficiency. Materials include assessment handbooks, worksheets, fact sheets, and the energy selector tool. The team also maintains a website that serves as a clearinghouse for relevant information and announcements.
Members of the Farm Energy program are located at extension offices throughout the state.
The energy efficiency program team works with a variety of strategic allies, including federal, state, and local governments, non‐profit organizations, and local businesses to help ensure maximum effectiveness of program efforts.