Tag Archives: sustainable farming

CO Family Farm Taps Solar to Boost Revenues, Food Production

By Eric Galatas, Public News Service

As the nation moves to ramp up clean-energy productionJack’s Solar Garden, a locally owned farm just south of Longmont, could provide a model for family-scale operations across the U.S. The farm has boosted revenues after planting 3,200 solar panels, enough to power more than 300 homes, and uses the soil underneath to grow produce. Continue reading here.

Photo by the National Renewable Energy Lab: Jack’s Solar Garden in Boulder County offers tours to visiting farmers and local schools to help cultivate the next generation of agrivoltaic farmers.

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing

  • YouTube Video: Agrivoltaics: Solar Panels Bring Life to Struggling Farms | NowThis

The Land Report

Bill Gates: America’s Top Farmland Owner, The Land Report

Land Report Infographic: Bill and Melinda Gates own farmland across 18 states,
including among their largest holdings 20,588 acres in Nebraska.

In January 2020, The Land Report announced the launch of a sustainability standard that was developed by US farmland owners and operators. Called Leading Harvest, the organization’s goal is to create a sustainability standard that can be implemented across the greatest swath of agricultural acreage. Currently, more than 2 million acres in 22 states and an additional 2 million acres in seven countries are represented. Among the participants in the 13-member Sustainable Agriculture Working Group are Ceres Partners, Hancock Natural Resources Group, The Rohaytn Group, and UBS Farmland Investors.

The Land Report Winter 2020. Posted on January 11, 2021 by the Land Report Editors 

America’s 100 Largest Landowners 2020, The Land Report

Land Report 100

Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card, February 2020, Nebraska Department of Agriculture

Nebraska’s Natural Resources

  • Nebraska’s farms and ranches utilize 45 million acres, 92% of the state’s total land area.
  • Nebraska is fortunate to have aquifers below it. If poured over the surface of the state, the water in those aquifers would have a depth of 37.9 feet.
  • Nearly 80,000 miles of rivers and streams add to Nebraska’s bountiful natural resources.
  • There are 22 million acres of rangeland and pastureland in Nebraska, half of which are in the Sandhills.

A Nebraska Farm’s Renewable Energy Enterprise Is Reaping Profits While Protecting Soil & Water

Danny and Josie Kluthe own the first on-farm electrical generator in Nebraska powered by manure methane. The methane is harvested from an anaerobic manure digester on their swine farm in Dodge, Nebraska to produce electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG).

Some of their homegrown, renewable energy is used for the farm. The excess, enough to power approximately 50 homes, is sold to the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) through the Kluthe’s alternative energy business, called OLean Energy. NPPD distributes the energy to neighboring Cuming County Public Power District.

It all started with the Kluthe’s desire to be good neighbors, to control the odor from their farm, particularly with a church nearby.  At a symposium  presented by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Public Power District, Danny discovered that the manure from an anaerobic digester essentially comes out odorless. “So it seemed like a perfect fit.”

The USDA and the Nebraska Environmental Trust provided grants to help fund the construction of the farm’s electrical generator. The manure methane produced by the digester is piped to the generator to power it.

“We are displacing $4-per-gallon diesel with the methane we produce here on the farm, so the payback is phenomenal. We now can make our own electricity, our own vehicle fuel and our own fuel to heat the barns. It’s nice to be energy-independent and not be at the mercy of energy costs.”

To read more about the Kluthe family and additional ways they are protecting the soil and water resources at Bacon Hill, share their story and connect with others, click on this link: http://globegazette.com/article_c46cafba-2e1a-50bc9716db629ab74df1.html#.Umktng5a4OQ.twitter

The Midwest Rural Energy Council’s website provides resources on Anaerobic Digesters and Biogas, including: Anaerobic Digester Basics, Financial Assistance & Economics of Using Anaerobic Digesters, Farmers’ Digester Experience, Organizations that Support Anaerobic Digestion Endeavors, and more: www.mrec.org/anaerobicdigestion.html

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s AgStar Program provides an online Anaerobic Digester (AD) 101 guide, answers to Frequent Questions, Fact Sheets, and additional resources at this link: www.epa.gov/agstar/anaerobic/index.html