Powering Michigan Agriculture Conference: Farmer impact

Farmer attendees report conference boosted confidence in choosing renewable energy technologies.

Michigan farms and the state’s economy and environment all stand to benefit greatly from both improved energy use efficiency and increased capacity for renewable energy generation. Farmers who attended the 2016 Powering Michigan Agriculture with Renewable Energy Conference, held in March at the MSU Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan, heard from speakers and a farmer panel who addressed issues around on-farm energy use efficiency and renewable energy generation. Speaker presentations and bios can be accessed online. During lunch attendees heard from Sean Babington, Senior Professional Staff from Senator Stabenow’s office, on the Federal renewable energy and energy conservation perspective. 

Attendees were surveyed at the conclusion of the conference. 81 percent of those completing a survey indicated their overall understanding of renewable energy technologies increased as a result of attending the conference. 94 percent of farmers who self-identified themselves indicated they were confident in choosing a renewable energy technology for their farm as a result of attending the conference. Renewable energy technologies specifically mentioned were solar, anaerobic digestion, LED lighting, solar/geo, and wood gasification. 

Next year’s Powering Michigan Agriculture with Renewable Energy Conference is planned for March 9, 2017 at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus. The conference will be expanded to cover more topics and include more vendors. Mark it on your calendar! 

Gold Sponsors at the conference were Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Harvest Energy Solutions, Michigan Agency for Energy, Water Furnace, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, and Michigan State University Extension. Silver Sponsors were Solar Power Michigan and Varnum. The conference attracted eight vendors:

  • American Metal Roofs
  • CBS Solar
  • Oak Electric Service Inc.
  • Patriot Solar Group
  • Quality Solar Group
  • Solar King LLC
  • Solar Winds Power Systems
  • Terra Caloric 

Renewable energy and energy conservation funding entities were also represented at the conference. Each one provided information on funding opportunities to conference attendees. They were as follows:

  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDA Rural Development
  • Consumers Energy
  • DTE
  • Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation
  • MI Saves

The MSU Wood Energy Team also provided educational material to conference attendees. 

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