Clean energy innovators share stories of efforts
Winners say they have met their goals on energy efficiency
By MITCH LIES
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- For Jock Gibson of Lochmead Dairy in Junction City, Ore., it was hearing about the industry's carbon footprint that caused him to seek ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For Steve and Becky Camp of Lacrosse, Wash., "it finally got down to the financial end of things," Steve Camp said.
For Chuck Roady of F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. in Columbia Falls, Mont., "it was the right thing to do."
And for Steve Ballard of Ballard Family Dairy in Gooding, Idaho, "it was done for economic reasons to control our cost of production."
In all cases, the four Harvesting Clean Energy Ag-Forestry Innovator of the Year award winners say they have met their goals.
The four spoke during a panel discussion Jan. 28 at the Harvesting Clean Energy 2013 Conference in Corvallis.
Gibson, vice president of the vertically integrated Lochmead Dairy, said the dairy has reduced its emissions by about 25 percent, which the industry has identified as a goal it hopes to achieve by 2020.
In addition to operating a dairy, Lochmead owns and operates 44 Dari Mart stores in Oregon.
"We knew that we needed to do our part to achieve that 25 percent reduction," Gibson said.
The dairy installed a manure digester two years ago to achieve about a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, Gibson said. It also installed solar panels at its Dari Mart stores and at the milk bottling plant. And it installed energy-saving LED lights at its Dari Mart stores as it has remodeled them.
"We feel we are approaching that 25 percent reduction in our greenhouse gases," Gibson said.
Steve and Becky Camp decided the best thing they could do to reduce their cost of production was to cut fuel costs, Becky Camp said.
Its first step was to move to direct seeding, Steve Camp said.
"That actually cut our fuel consumption by half," he said.
Next, the farm opted to produce its own fuel by dedicating 6 to 10 percent of its annual production to camelina and crushing it for use as biodiesel.
"By moving into producing our own fuel, we took another 20 percent off that cost," Steve Camp said.
Like Gibson, Ballard installed LED lights in his cheese plant and his dairy facility, and installed solar panels and built a loop system with its water storage tanks to heat and cool the operation.
The efforts helped eliminate 85 percent of the propane costs that Ballard said were rapidly increasing.
Site-based energy, he said, was the key to enabling the dairy to cut its cost of production but still offer a good product to its customers.
Roady, the Montana lumber company vice president, said he isn't sure yet whether a biomass plant the company is building will be economically successful, given the remoteness of his operation and other factors unique to the operation.
But, he said: "The bottom line is it was the right thing to do. We knew it socially, environmentally, ecologically, communitywise, businesswise.
"We have had our business in that valley for 100 years and we'd like to be there for another 100 years," Roady said.