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David Sparks Ph.d Solar Farming
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: January 07, 2019

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Just off Highway fifty one, South of Mountain Home on the way to Bruneau, one thing is for sure, there are big skies out there and lots of sunshine… more than 330 days of sunshine. That got farmer Russel Schirmeyer thinking. To make a go in bone dry Owyhee County, he needed to cut irrigation costs. “it's probably 35 to 40% of my farming costs every year and one of the things we can be more efficient about. In the past I have put a lot of money into GPS, variable rate fertilizer, variable rate planting and I have this giant bear of a bill every month on my power that is only getting bigger over the years.” Schirmeyer farms more than three thousand acres of corn wheat and hay and they use a lot of water and power. He set out to find a way to offset that huge power bill. He looked to the skies for help. He set up Solar panels. “Your power bill is going to be set in stone. This is a way to insulate it because you can set your power cost with these as they are producing and as soon as they are paid off you have a net bottom and if you can live with that now, and it is something you can live with in the future.”

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