Early this year, the Northeast's On Farm Renewable Energy extension team successfully launched the Farm Energy IQ training program to help farmers sort through potential renewable energy technologies. Now, those resources, including 16 training modules are available via the web.
If you operate a dairy or grow vegetables for sale at farm markets, there's an individual training module that addresses your specific needs. Topics also include renewable energy technologies like solar, wind and biogas, as well as best practices for buying energy in deregulated markets.
The project, funded by a grant through Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, consists of a team of experts from Penn State Extension, Rutgers University, and University of Vermont Extension. The curriculum is very well-suited for the Northeast region because of the broad range of inputs. Each module follows a well-designed format meant to instill a level of competence in each particular subject. Modules include a case study, fact sheet and an applied exercise. The combination of training, support, and application bring the training to life in a participant's real world scenario.
FEIQ was masterminded by Penn State University's Renewable Energy Educator Ed Johnstonbaugh. As principle investigator, the Westmoreland County Extension advisor recognized the value of a far-reaching, multi-topic, homogenous training source. It covers the ever-changing energy credits, grants, plus net metering and tax deduction considerations.
As reported on this website and in American Agriculturist's May cover story, Johnstonbaugh was instrumental in developing solar-power plans for Scott Clewell's home and farmstead near Pottsgrove, Pa. Check out the cover story here and related solar payback details plus other considerations here.