Farmers are more conscious of going green, and companies, such as Renewal Energy Contractors, explained at the Farm Show in Harrisburg how to do it with
Farmers are more conscious of going green, and companies, such as Renewal Energy Contractors, explained at the Farm Show in Harrisburg how to do it with wind and solar power. (Daily Record/Sunday News - Bil Bowden)

Several people at the Pennsylvania Farm Show last week manned booths to provide information about energy-saving methods.

Gary L. Swan, director of governmental affairs and communications division for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, said the agriculture industry puts a heavy focus on saving energy because that is one of the biggest costs of production.

"Energy is a very, very big cost on the farm," he said. It makes up the biggest portion of expense in the production of food, he said. "There's a lot of peak metering that goes on today . . . to reduce its cost . . . and produce the most effective use of technology."

During last week's Farm Show, Gov. Ed Rendell said Pennsylvania met the first in-state production threshold triggering mandatory biofuel use.

Within one year, all on-road diesel fuel sold in the state will include two percent biodiesel.

That will benefit Pennsylvania farmers and biofuel producers as new markets are opened for their products, Swan said.

"It is going to specifically expand the opportunity to produce soybeans," Swan said. "It is a very efficient form of diesel."

Hopefully in time the fuel production will cause food prices to decrease, he said.

"It takes a while for lower energy prices to be reflected," he said.

The Farm Show also displayed other alternative and renewable energy efforts.

Jerry Stern, spokesperson for Gordonville-based Sun Lion Energy Systems, discussed cost savings that solar power can provide.


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Farmers in general will face a significant increase in the cost of electricity when deregulation kicks in next year, he said.

"We can reduce (a farmer's) electric bill or eliminate it," he said.

A solar system can be paid off in energy savings in 10 years, Stern said and added that the panels include a 20-year warranty and 40-year life expectancy.