|Aug 31, 2010 --
With energy costs increasing, the agricultural community is not immune but in fact is often impacted the most. This is the case with poultry growers who depend on LP gas to heat houses for chicks they receive and raise until six or seven weeks of age. Donna Wayne, a poultry grower in Wilkes County, NC, was seeking ways to make her poultry houses more energy efficient when she learned about the USDA Rural Energy for America Program.
The REAP Program is designed to assist agricultural producers and small, rural businesses in developing renewable energy systems as well as making energy efficiency improvements to their existing operations. Ms. Wayne has been approved for an energy efficiency grant, with funding provided to enclose the sidewalls on her existing six poultry houses, install an efficient radiant heat system, and employ computer controllers which will monitor and more efficiently regulate the heating and ventilation systems in her houses. These improvements will bring her poultry houses up to date with the current poultry house standards.
LP Gas is one of the major expenses in a poultry operation. With the upgrades funded by the REAP program grant, Ms. Wayne will be able to reduce her LP Gas consumption by 40%. This will increase the profitability of her poultry operation, which is especially notable because, like most agriculture-related businesses, she operates on a razor-thin profit margin. It will also help the environment; less fuel purchased means less fuel utilized, and ultimately fewer emissions released into the environment.