Tag Archives: farm energy

Zoltenko Farms Near Hardy, Nebraska Hosting Open House to Showcase New 1,164-Solar-Panel System

 Written by Amy Hadachek for The Fence Post

A boar stud operation on the Kansas/Nebraska border, which recently added a sophisticated geothermal (heating and cooling) system to keep boars at a consistently comfortable body temperature, has also recently completed a major installation of a solar energy system.

Zoltenko Farms near Hardy, Neb., which was founded just over 100 years ago in 1917, will showcase their new 1,164-solar paneled system to the community during their Solar Power Open House at the Zoltenko Farms site on April 21 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Click here for additional details. 

Photo by AB27 / Creative Commons

Amy Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in north central Kansas and is also a meteorologist and storm chaser. She can be reached at: rotatingstorm2004@yahoo.com.

American AgCredit
Founded in 1916, American AgCredit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, specializing  in providing financial services to agricultural and rural customers throughout California, Nevada, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico – as well as to capital markets customers throughout the country.

Farm Credit Services of America
Farm Credit Services of America, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is also a part of the Farm Credit System, serving the financing needs of agricultural producers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Farm Credit System
The Farm Credit System is a nationwide agricultural network providing credit and affiliated services to farm and ranch operators across the United States. See a list of participating associations here.


What the 2018 farm bill means for urban, suburban and rural America

By Tom Vilsack, The Conversation

Producing renewable energy is an important tool for expanding economic opportunity in rural areas. USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program authorizes investments in small- and large-scale projects including wind, solar, renewable biomass and anaerobic digesters, which farmers can use to produce biogas energy by breaking down manure and other organic wastes. Since 2009 the Renewable Energy for America Program has helped finance over 12,000 renewable energy projects.

Read the entire article here.

Tom Vilsack served as Governor of Iowa from 1999-2007 and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2009-2017. He is president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC); a Strategic Advisor of Food & Water Initiatives at the National Western Center as part of the Colorado State University System team; and Global Chair for the International Board of Counselors on Food & Water Initiatives. He serves on the board of Feeding America, GenYouth and Working American Education Fund and the World Food Prize Foundation Board of Advisors.

Photo:: Soybean crop on a family farm near Humboldt, Iowa, 2017. Credit: USDA / Preston Keres


#1: Special Order of Business on the Farm Bill and Prolonged Farm Crisis
#2: Special Order of Business on Property Tax Relief
#3: Special Order of Business Supporting the Use of a Private Public Partnership
#4: Special Order of Business on Net Metering
The members of the Nebraska Farmers Union support an increase of the maximum guaranteed access level for net-metering from 25 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts.  Secondly, the members support  changing and updating current state law to allow single owners the option of aggregating their multiple meters for the purpose of net metering.
#5: Special Order of Business on Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)

Click here for complete details about all five NeFU top priorities for 2018.

Iowa solar power company hopes to power the ag industry

Published by SFGate

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Dolf Ivener wants to help the planet and revolutionize the way farmers power their farms. The Sioux City businessman and fifth-generation farmer, who oversees operations outside of Hinton and Whiting, Iowa, recently launched Hog Power Energy.
Continue reading.

Photo: Dolf Ivener, owner of Hog Power Energy, develops and sells all-in-one solar power systems inside a 20-foot shipping container. The container includes an 11-kilowatt solar panel system (40 panels), a battery management system, a 20-kilowatt battery to store excess energy for 30 hours of backup power, and a 15-kilowatt inverter. Credit: Justin Wan / Sioux City Journal via AP

Farms, Ranches incorporate Small-Scale Solar Projects

By Ariana Brocious, NET News

In these hot days of summer, it’s easy to appreciate just how much sunlight we get in Nebraska. A growing number of people and communities across the state are starting to take advantage of this resource. “2016 was, in total, a very significant year,” said David Bracht of the Nebraska Energy Office. In the last 18 months, Nebraska’s total solar power generation has grown from around one megawatt to around 13 megawatts. While that’s a big increase, we’re still talking fairly small potatoes when it comes to energy. Continue reading.

Solar installation at Jim Jenkins’ ranch near Callaway, Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Jim Jenkins and Nebraska Energy Office


Ben Gotschall of Davey Road Ranch will be installing an 8.8-kilowatt solar project in a few weeks.

Photo by Ariana Brocious, NET News


Check out other Nebraskans who are benefiting from using solar energy in their farm operations by clicking on Solar Examples on the menu bar at the top of this page.

Opportunity to meet Nebraska solar installers:
Solar Energy Workshop Hosted by Community Crops August 5th at the Eiseley Branch Library in Lincoln

Related news stories:

Can Solar Benefit Rural America’s Economy?

By Bobbi Peterson, The Energy Collective

Currently, the solar power industry employs 260,077 workers – up 24.5% from 2015 — and 51,000 of the jobs added were for newly created positions. Many of these positions are in rural areas, taking advantage of ample space and solar’s unique scalability. Also on the rise are rural solar cooperatives, which invest in and support solar power, like the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. This association is a conglomerate of 44 coops from Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and New Mexico . . . Beyond the jobs market, rural consumers also stand to gain from the advent of affordable solar technology. The cost of solar panels has been declining for some time, allowing more and more rural consumers to install them on their property.
Click here to read the entire article.


Shedding some light about solar energy on the farm

By Curt Arens, Nebraska Farmer

Among alternative energy sources, solar is undeniably on the rise. “The price of solar has come down quite a bit and there is now a lot of interest in agriculture and small businesses,” F. John Hay, Nebraska Extension energy educator, told producers at a Solar Energy in Agriculture workshop in Norfolk recently. “Small scale solar is the lowest-cost renewable energy source at this time.” Continue reading.


New bioenergy approach could mean cleaner water, plus a big payday for farmers

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

[Shashi Menon, a managing partner at EcoEngineers] and his economic-analyst partners at Goss & Associates attempted to calculate the financial and other benefits that could result from a synergistic approach to both producing high-quality biogas from municipal, industrial and agricultural waste and using marginal land to grow an energy crop such as miscanthus. It could be processed along with other organic waste in anaerobic digesters . . . They roughly concluded that a $17.6 million investment in a digester to process municipal and industrial waste would, over 20 years, yield about $158 million in benefits. Read more.

Photo by Andrea Kirby / Creative Commons


The concrete benefits of wind power for farmers

By Greg Alvarez, American Wind Energy Association Blog, Into the Wind


We often talk about how wind energy is a drought-proof cash crop for farmers and ranchers, providing steady income they can count on when the rains don’t fall or the fields don’t produce as expected. And that income is sizeable– landowners were paid $222 million in lease payments in 2015 alone. That’s why some observers are calling wind power “the new corn.” Continue reading.


  • Renewable energy aids dairy farmers, St. Cloud Times
    For dairy farmers across Minnesota, embracing sustainable practices and ensuring we protect Minnesota’s air, land and water is a top priority. Energy is a critical aspect of that sustainability commitment.
  • Davenport schools consider district-wide solar project, Quad City Times
    The Davenport School Board is considering a solar project for every public school in the city that officials say could result in significant energy savings.
  • St. Olaf embraces wind power – 100 percent, Minneapolis Star Tribune
    “We are one of the largest community solar garden subscribers and the largest Windsource customer in the state,” Pete Sandberg, St. Olaf assistant vice president for facilities, said in concert with Monday’s announcement.”
  • Wind and solar energy projects could bring 5,000 new jobs to rural MN, University of Minnesota News. While Minnesota’s state energy policies have been a large driver in the shift from fossil fuels to renewables, the federal Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit have played a major role in shaping the state’s clean energy economy while keeping rates affordable for utility customers, according to a new report from the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab

Taking Self-Contained Solar Electricity to Farms

By Glenn Meyers, CleanTechnica


Dolf Ivener, founder of Sioux City, Iowa-based Hog Power Energy, is now plenty busy marketing his company’s Self-Contained Solar Generator (SCSG) to hog farmers . . . According to Ivener, the industry is sizable: 70,000 hog confinements exist nationwide, each one consuming 24,000 kw of electricity annually at a $184,000,000 price tag, averaging more than $2,600 annually. Add to this calculation, the cost of a generator averages $10,000, a machine which needs to be replaced within 10-15 years, plus maintenance. The hog industry has spent over $1,200,000,000 for new and replacement generators, which provide no energy savings. This is where Ivener has created a viable niche in the agricultural marketplace selling photovoltaic electricity. Read more.

Photo: Dolf Ivener, CEO of Hog Power Energy

REAP one of many programs offered by USDA

By Bill Sheppard / USDA, Fremont Tribune

Minden Farm

REAP [Rural Energy for America Program] is available to agricultural producers (51 percent or more of gross income comes from agriculture production) and rural (any area that has a population of 50,000 or less and is not adjacent to or is not a contiguous part of an urbanized area) small businesses (as classified by the Small Business Administration). The goal of the program is to reduce energy use and cost, and to help meet the Nation’s energy needs. REAP has two types of funding assistance available: grants and/or guaranteed loans. Assistance is available for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. Read the entire article here.

Photo: 21-kilowatt solar array at a family farm in Minden, Nebraska, which provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations. Courtesy of Graham Christensen / GC Resolve

Bill Sheppard is a USDA Rural Development Business Programs Specialist in Norfolk. He can be reached at 402-371-5350 Extension 104 or by email at bill.sheppard@ne.usda.gov.

Click here for a list of all Nebraska USDA Contacts.