Letters: Farmers can be leaders in energy
Farmers can be leaders in energy As State Auditor, I sit on the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority (RFA), a program that partners with lenders throughout the state to provide affordable credit for eligible farmers. The RFA works with farmers on ma...
Farmers can be
leaders in energy
As State Auditor, I sit on the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority (RFA), a program that partners with lenders throughout the state to provide affordable credit for eligible farmers. The RFA works with farmers on many different levels, including helping younger and beginning farmers purchase land. The RFA also is involved with agricultural improvement financing, which helps with making improvements to farm operations (such as storage and handling facilities).
In the past, the RFA has given me the chance to tour some of the more creative agricultural businesses around the state. Last year, I toured an ethanol plant to see first hand the progress being made in the production of this important alternative fuel. Since then, I have expressed my belief that Minnesota taxpayers could benefit if local governments considered purchasing fuel flexible vehicles when it's time to replace the ones they currently operate.
More recently, I was able to take a tour of the Haubenschild Family Farm, located in Princeton. This farm is unique in that they have developed a method for converting cow manure into a renewable energy source.
Haubenschild built an anaerobic methane digester, which generates energy for nearby homes, provides soil nutrients for the crops grown on nearby land and controls the odor of the manure. There is no question that by turning something that is generally considered a waste into a resource, this farm is a prototype of what can be accomplished on farms all over Minnesota.
What impresses me the most about the Haubenschild Family Farm is their cooperative efforts and promotion of self-reliance.
By selling the surplus of electricity produced to a local electric cooperative, Haubenschild is making full use of renewable energy and also promoting sustainable agriculture. By cooperating with others, they not only help themselves, but are also helping the environment, as well as their neighbors.
Mature energy conversation, and ethanol production, are just two ways Minnesota agriculture can be leaders in the production of alternative energy sources. And while these things will not end America's dependency on foreign energy, they do help us take some pretty big steps in that direction.