A series of meetings scheduled for October and November are designed to help North Carolina’s farmers go green by providing $1 million dollars to help them save energy, while increasing farm profits.

The North Carolina Farm Energy Efficiency Project (FEEP) originated from a grant awarded to North Carolina Farm Bureau by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The project’s goal is to provide educational and technical support for farmers regarding agricultural energy use and efficiency. Farmers may also apply for low cost energy audits that will evaluate ways to save farm energy costs.

“As farmers continue to face increasing costs, the data from energy audits and implementing energy saving plans can result in substantial, long-term savings,” said Paul Sherman, air & energy programs director with North Carolina Farm Bureau.

The USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) can provide grants and loans on projects that meet the criteria to save energy or implement new energy programs. FEEP will also provide matching funds that will improve a farmer’s ability to obtain funds from REAP.

The funds will provide technical support needed to analyze proposals, perform energy audits, and prepare competitive applications for REAP loans and grants.

FEEP personnel will offer six informational meetings about the project. USDA Rural Development personnel will also be at the meetings to further explain how farmers can benefit from the REAP grant and loan program.

By the end of 2010, the project will have facilitated 200 on-farm energy audits and implemented at least 60 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Visit the FEEP Web site at http://www.ncfarmenergy.org/ for more information.

Farmers are welcome to attend an educational session at any of the following locations:

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.

Iredell County Agriculture Center

444 Bristol Drive

Statesville, N.C. 28677

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.

Person County Office Building

304 S. Morgan St.

Roxboro, N.C. 27573

Thursday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m.

Robeson County Farm Bureau

302 Bailey Rd.

Lumberton, N.C. 28358

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.

Martin County Farmers Market

4001 W. Main St. Ext

Williamston, N.C. 27892

Thursday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

Duplin County Agriculture Center

165 Agriculture Drive

Kenansville, N.C. 28349

Thursday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m.

Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center

455 Research Drive

Mills River, N.C. 28759