With its broad technical expertise in both sustainable energy and sustainable agriculture, NCAT is uniquely qualified to identify and promote more sustainable energy alternatives for agriculture.
NCAT offers training, publications, demonstrations, workshops, and direct technical assistance on conserving energy resources and diversifying operations through energy crops, energy generation facilities, and carbon sequestration.
NCAT maintains a Farm Energy Alternatives section on its National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website, offering dozens of energy-related publications and tools, as well as direct technical assistance by phone or e-mail.
NCAT offers a Directory of Energy Alternatives. Farmers and non-farmers alike who are looking for energy-related equipment, funding, or technical assistance will find resources in this user-friendly business directory, searchable by state.
Energy Alternatives for Limited Resource Farmers
Small and limited-resource farmers are often the first to feel the impact of high energy prices and have the least ability to absorb these costs. NCAT is delivering energy-related technical support to limited-resource, socially-disadvantaged, and other traditionally under-served farmers in several Southeastern and Midwestern states, enabling them to better manage their energy-related risks. Project partners include the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Operation Spring Plant, and Piedmont Biofuels. Funding for this project is provided by the USDA Risk Management Agency.
Stimulating Energy Innovation on Iowa’s Small Sustainable Farms
With funding from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, NCAT is working on improving participation in federal and state grant programs, by small and mid-sized Iowa farms that use sustainable production practices. Federal and state grant programs offer excellent funding for both renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, but program dollars have tended to go mainly to large conventional farming operations.
Managing Farm Energy Risks
Since 2006, NCAT has offered Energy Alternatives workshops to over 2,000 agricultural producers in 12 Eastern and Southern states, covering both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. Partner organizations have included the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, New England Small Farm Institute, and Piedmont Biofuels. This project has been funded by the USDA Risk Management Agency.
Recent Farm Energy publications from NCAT
Biodiesel Production for On-Farm Use
Biodiesel Use, Handling, and Fuel Quality
Small-Scale Wind Energy on the Farm
Conserving Fuel on the Farm
Locally Owned Renewable Energy Facilities
Renewable Energy Opportunities on the Farm
Energy Training for Agriculture Professionals
In 2009 NCAT launched a new effort to create a network of locally based energy advisors and educators in rural America.
The first ENTAP group takes a break for a photo
The project seeks to build support for renewable energy and energy efficiency within Extension and the USDA agencies, finding and connecting agriculture professionals — often working in isolated rural areas — who have a personal commitment to renewable energy.
Initial funding for Energy Training for Agriculture Professionals has come from USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program. The first course, in the fall of 2009, trained 26 Energy Educators from 12 southern states.
Course instructors included nationally recognized experts on wind, solar, biopower, energy efficiency, and other energy topics. Graduates were given an assortment of tools and resources that prepare them to lead training efforts in their own communities.
More information about Energy Training for Agriculture Professionals is available at www.sare.org/.
Oilseeds for Fuel, Feed, and the Future Project
This project is a collaborative effort that aims to reduce risk and create new opportunities for Montana farmers who want to participate in, and benefit from, an emerging bio-based economy. The project involves workshops and Innovation Grants for farmers. Project partners include Montana Farmers Union, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana Department of Agriculture, Alternative Energy Resources Organization, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Department of Environmental Quality’s Air, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau.
Irrigator’s Pocket Guide
Since 2003, NCAT has created 18 different customized versions of the Irrigator’s Pocket Guide, a take-to-the-field reference book intended to help irrigators save water, energy, and money. Over 30,000 books have been distributed to irrigators in 15 different states. Sponsors and partners have included the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and a variety of utilities, state agencies, and water and energy conservation organizations.
The Pacific Northwest Irrigator’s Pocket Guide Part 1: Water Management [PDF/2MB]
The Pacific Northwest Irrigator’s Pocket Guide Part 2: Equipment Maintenance [PDF/2MB]
The California Microirrigation Pocket Guide [PDF/2MB]
THE NCAT MISSION
Helping People by championing small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources.