Nebraska Irrigation Efficiency Projects
Section 9006 Grants: $2,600,000 for
238 Projects, 2004-07
Irrigation is essential to farming in dry western Nebraska. Yet these large irrigation systems use tremendous quantities of both water and energy. Many of these irrigation systems are relying on diesel generators which became very expensive to operate when fuel prices shot up.Many of these irrigation systems are relying on diesel generators which became very expensive to operate when fuel prices shot up.
Nebraska Public Power District, the publicly-owned electric provider for the state, working in conjunction with USDA Rural Development staff, has helped over 200 farmers receive Section 9006 grants to replace diesel or propane-fueled irrigation motors with electric ones. At current prices, farmers can save 30% of their irrigation energy costs by converting from diesel to electric.
The success of the Section 9006 program in Nebraska is due to the close cooperation between Rural Development and NPPD. Rural Development did extensive outreach on the program, focusing in on irrigation projects while NPPD staff conducted the energy assessments needed to apply for the grants. Since the average Section 9006 grant for these irrigation efficiency projects was only $7,000, credit is also due to the farmers who worked through the application process.