Farm renewables key to future business survival

Pig and poultry producers with a high energy demand who fail to adopt farm-based renewables could risk going out of business in the next five years, Farmers Weekly Green Energy Farmer of the Year 2012 Steve Edmunds has warned.

Renewables was a real game-changer for many farming businesses and those who failed to adopt it would find it hard to compete with their competitors who had, said Mr Edmunds at the Nextgen energy conference in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

No other farm investment offered the same return on investment, said Mr Edmunds whose own dairy farm in Ashcott, Somerset was now able to support an extra family as a result of renewables income.

Steve Edmunds’ farm energy tips 

  • Do it sympathetically – site your project with the public and environment in mind. It only takes one ill-conceived project with heavy community opposition to cause problems for others trying to install similar projects at a future date
  • Ensure dual use of land – ground-mounted solar PV should adopt the orchard concept with animals grazing underneath
  • Buy quality equipment – the project has a 20-year lifespan so ensure you buy quality kit from a trusted source. “It’s much more important than the time you spend picking your new tractor or combine,” said Mr Edmund.
  • Consider heat efficiency – heat efficiency requirements are going to come in place as part of the Renewable Heat Incentive. Farmers interested in investing in biomass should try and get on board now 

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2012 Green Energy Farmer of the Year: Steve Edmunds

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