|Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Offers
Free Energy Assessments to Farmers and Ranchers
11, 2008, Austin, Texas) - Saving energy can help farmers and ranchers
increase their profits while also helping to preserve Texas’ energy
resources, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said today as she premiered a
new initiative to promote energy efficiency in agriculture. The new Texas
Agricultural Technical Assistance Program will provide farm and ranch
operations information about cost-effective energy choices, aid in accessing
funding and incentive sources, conduct training and offer free Energy
Assessment Reports (EARs) of producers’ buildings and facilities.
The State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), a division of the Comptroller’s
office, will conduct the program.
Combs said farmers and ranchers could benefit from the free assessments
that examine utility costs and energy consumption in farm and business
operations. Producers can also use assistance in finding loan and grant
programs to increase efficiency or purchase renewable energy systems.
“Rising energy costs impact all sectors of our economy, but agriculture
producers in Texas now have new opportunities to streamline operations,
reduce costs and remain competitive,” Combs said. “To help
farmers and ranchers face these significant challenges, this program will
identify incentives to move toward more energy-efficient farms, reducing
energy costs, increasing available capital, spurring economic growth and
improving the working environment.”
SECO will run the Texas Agricultural Technical Assistance Program in
partnership with EnSave Inc., USDA Rural Development, the Texas Association
of Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Areas Inc. and the
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. By working together, this
partnership will maximize the effectiveness of energy efficiency activities
within the Texas agricultural sector.
“Investing in our communities through improved energy efficiency
in farming operations is a win-win opportunity for state agriculture,”
Combs said. “We want to make Texas-made products available to every
market in the world, and we can keep prices competitive when farmers operate
The Texas Agricultural Technical Assistance Program will provide Texas
agricultural operations with free EARs for their farm buildings and facilities.
The reports will collect data regarding energy consumption usage and information
about the farming equipment used in production. These reports will identify
opportunities to save on energy costs and recommend changes concerning
electricity, propane and diesel fuel within the farm operation.
This program will also help agricultural producers access additional
funds to implement energy efficiency projects, such as grants and guaranteed
loan funds available through the USDA Rural Development
Section 9007, Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), utility company
incentives or other funds (loan funds, economic development funds). Some
of these loans and grants can help agricultural producers make energy
efficiency improvements to their existing operations or install their
own renewable energy systems.
SECO will host informational workshops in Stephenville, Lubbock, Nacogdoches
and San Antonio throughout August and September to provide more information
to producers and the extended agricultural community. SECO representatives
on hand at the presentations can answer questions and sign eligible producers
up for free EARs.
In addition, partners involved in the Texas Agricultural Technical Assistance
Program will provide training on writing grant applications for REAP and
a separate three-day workshop for intensive data collector training. Data
collectors will receive training on two or three types of agriculture
operations prevalent in their respective regions. Texas RC&D councils,
the farm bureau, university extension, conservation districts and similar
organizations can attend. The schedule for workshops dates and locations
is as follows:
Program Information Workshop: Aug. 18, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Grant Writing Training: Aug. 19, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Data Collector Training: Aug. 20–22, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 4
Program Information Workshop: Aug. 25, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Grant Writing Training: Aug. 26, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Data Collector Training: Aug. 27–29, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 4
Grant Writing Training: Sept. 15, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Information Workshop: Sept. 16, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Data Collector Training: Sept. 17–19, 2008, from 9 a.m. –
San Antonio, Texas
Program Information Workshop: Sept. 22, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Grant Writing Training: Sept. 23, 2008, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Data Collector Training: Sept. 24–26, 2008, from 9 a.m. –
For more information on how to sign up for this exciting new program
or one of the workshops, please call EnSave at (800) 732-1399 or visit
SECO online at http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/agriculture.htm.