Proposed Wisconsin Legislation will Encourage Investment in On-Farm Renewable Energy Development
Commitment to renewable energy will help the economy grow, decrease dependence on fossil fuels, and create a healthier environment for future generations. Acknowledging the widespread benefit of renewable energy development to farmers and rural America, Organic Valley today pledges its support of the renewable energy provisions within the Clean Energy Jobs Act, currently being considered by the Wisconsin legislature. As a farmer-owned cooperative of 1,652 organic family farms, Organic Valley takes a strong interest in the health and sustainability of small-scale family farms and rural communities. The cooperative has embraced renewable energy as a clean, responsible way to provide farmers with a reliable, homegrown source of energy and a consistent source of income.
"Organic Valley farmers are conscientious," said Cecil Wright, vice president of sustainability and local operations for Organic Valley. "We care about what goes into our products and the impacts our agricultural practices have on our local environment. Legislation to encourage renewable energy development will provide more opportunities for our members to make their farms more productive and environmentally sound."
The Clean Energy Jobs Act includes an Enhanced Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which will allow Wisconsin residents to receive 25% of electricity from renewable energy by 2025, with at least 10% of electricity coming from renewable energy sources within the state. In addition, the bill includes provisions which encourage small-scale renewable energy generation, which would enable Wisconsin families considering energy projects such as manure digesters, small wind turbines and solar projects to move forward.
"Organic Valley promotes on-farm renewable energy projects through our Farmer Renewable Energy Program," said Wright. "Passage of this legislation will allow more members to participate in the program and offset some of their energy costs, creating even more sustainable farms."
Utilities currently participate in a variety of voluntary programs for farmers, homeowners, and businesses looking to install small-scale renewable energy systems. This patchwork of policies is problematic, but a single statewide policy to promote small-scale renewable energy, as proposed, would ensure a consistent, reliable market, creating more investment opportunities for rural Wisconsin and benefitting the stateís economy, environment and citizens well into the future.
For more information about the Clean Energy Jobs Act, please visit RENEW Wisconsinís FAQ page at www.renewwisconsin.org/policy/CEJA/CleanEnergyJobsFAQ.htm
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,652 farmers in 33 states and four Canadian provinces, and achieved $520 million in 2009 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley .