Farmers in Clinton County are thinking ‘green’

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Farmers in Clinton County are thinking green. A ‘Green Energy Symposium’ was held Wednesday afternoon where farmers could explore options and ask questions about becoming energy independent.

It seems like a no brainer– farmers care about the earth, but making the energy efficient switch could be a costly one.

Steven Davis from the US Department of Agriculture was one of the speakers at the symposium. It was held at the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

Davis chatted with the group of North County farmers about the ‘Rural Energy for America Program’ which provides financial help to producers and rural small businesses to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties.

“We can fund up to 75 percent of the project total cost capped at 25 million dollars,” Davis said.

The grant is open to for everyone in the North Country to apply. One Plattsburgh farmer has already taken advantage.

Tom Frey of Elfs Farm Winery & Cider House had solar panels installed at the farm just five weeks ago.

“The benefits are huge,” Frey said. “I mean I grew up with fossil fuel like we all have and we’ve seen the pollution and everything else that goes on.”

In just over a month Frey said the panels generated over 3,000 kW hours. To put it in perspective, the Municipal Lighting Department said a normal Plattsburgh household uses 4,000 to 5,000 kW hours per month.

Frey said he hasn’t gotten his first bill yet, but it isn’t about the money.

“For the community, for the environment, for you know I’m an old guy but your kids, and kids kids,” Frey said. “I think this is a necessary step for farmers to take to create green energy.”

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