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Students Tune in to First Farm Energy Auditor Training Program

November 23, 2011

Our Farm Energy Auditor Training program officially got underway last Wednesday with the first training session. Twenty students and several instructors and support staff tuned in.

The webcast featured an introduction to the Farm Energy Auditor Training by Jake Fischer and an overview of what the next several months of classes and site visits would entail.

Screenshot from the first class session in the Farm Energy Auditor Training Program

A screenshot from the first class session gives an idea of what students see

From there, session instructors Jennifer Brinker and Adam Laurent, both from GDS Associates, took over with their presentation, covering the drivers of energy audits on farms, components of a farm energy audit, data collection, efficiency recommendations, and report components. Next they segued into the first of two parts on conducting energy audits on dairy operations, focusing on milk harvesting machinery and refrigeration.

The session ended with questions and comments, some of which were carried over into the LinkedIn group created especially for the class as a place to post discussion and homework assignments.

Despite a few technical difficulties (which were expected in this first-ever training session), the initial class was a success. The online format allowed students spread across the state to participate, and the program is well on its way to helping produce the first crop (pun intended) of certified farm energy auditors. Once finished, they will be able to assist farmers in energy efficiency efforts as well as meet energy audit requirements for certain federal funding programs, such as the USDA’s Rural Development and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Funding for the Farm Energy Auditor Training Program was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Although this initial program run is full, we are taking names on a waiting list for the next. Contact Jake Fischer at 651.789.3330 or jfischer@mnproject.org if you are interested.

With the first class under our belt, the program will be skipping a week in honor of Thanksgiving. Class will resume on November 30 with the second part of the dairy presentation and a discussion on beef operations.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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