More Green to Go Green

MAESTRO offers extra incentives for trimming farm energy costs

Old technology can cost farmers money.

An energy-savings program for Missouri farms is offering new financial incentives to farmers who want to adopt energy-efficient equipment and practices.

The Missouri Agricultural Energy Saving Team–A Revolutionary Opportunity (MAESTRO) program offers low-interest loans, rebates, technical assistance and other incentives to adopt energy-efficiency practices on livestock, poultry and fish farms. The program is funded by the Department of Energy and operated by the University of Missouri, EnSave, Inc. and the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

The program offers a 75 percent cost-share grant that is normally capped at $5,000, but MAESTRO is raising that cap to $12,000 for farmers who enroll by the end of the year, said Brian Robertson, MU Extension associate with the MAESTRO program.

As an additional limited-time incentive, farmers can apply up to $3,000 of the cost share to energy-efficiency improvements to the farm home rather than just the farm operation.

“Or the farmer can choose to use the entire $12,000 of cost share on the farm side and use none on the home,” said Sam Orr, MAESTRO program director. “As another option, the farmer can choose to use up to $3,000 on the home and do no upgrades on the farm operations side.”

The fee for the initial on-farm energy assessment has been reduced from $250 to $125 through the end of the year. Even the regular $250 fee represents a steep discount from the $1,500 cost of a comparable assessment outside the MAESTRO program, Orr notes.

The assessment includes specific recommendations on how the farm can reduce costs through equipment upgrades, retrofits and practices that are more energy efficient. The assessment fee is refunded if the farm implements recommendations that reduce their energy consumption by at least 15 percent.

Some operations could save $300-$600 per month by replacing old energy-hogging equipment with new, efficient models, Orr said.

For more information, visit the MAESTRO website at call 1-800-732-1399.