The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

September 12, 2013

Harvesting energy

FAIRFIELD — A dairy operation in Jefferson County can teach the public that it's possible to use renewable energy and be successful farmers.

"We need to be thinking about our energy future," said Francis Thicke, who operates Radiance Dairy near Fairfield with his wife, Susan. "Agriculture is highly dependent on fossil fuels, and they are getting [scarcer and] dirtier to remove from the Earth, so we need to find renewable sources of energy. The more we begin to use them, the more they'll become cost competitive. Prices have come down tremendously. And they'll continue to come down."

Radiance has multiple renewable sources. They'll show these alternative energy options during a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day they are hosting from 2-5 p.m. Saturday at their farm, 1745 Brookville Road, about five miles northwest of Fairfield.

The event, “Harvesting Energy: Wind and Solar Power,” is free and open to the public.

Attendees will explore how Radiance Dairy harvests alternative energy. They have a 40 kilowatt wind turbine which, "on an annual basis will produce as much electricity as we use on the farm," Thicke said. "I think we need to keep pushing that technology."

At more than 100 feet tall, it also makes a good landmark for people driving along Brookville Road looking for Radiance Dairy.

But it's not their only way to save energy. They have solar-thermal hot water heater, solar-powered pumping system for livestock watering and geothermal heating and cooling system. Plus, they graze their cows, so the cows harvest their own forage.

"Different kinds of systems can fill different niches," Thicke said.

For example, pumping the water from the pond for the cows is done with solar, which is "a very dependable" system, he said. Radiance has had that system for 10 years.

"We probably did it on principal, but they all pay for themselves over time," he said.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2013 field day season features more than 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. For the entire field day schedule, visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

1
Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • raceway concept drawing.jpg Raceway Rebate passes the House

    Rep. Greg Heartsill reports that the bill to provide up to $2 million in sales tax rebates to the Knoxville Raceway has passed out of the Iowa House of Representatives, 78-15. 

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Live entertainment slated for Tulip Time This year's line-up for Festhouden, which will begin at 7 p.m. each evening of Tulip Time, has been announced. Festhouden will take place on the Tulip Toren located on the south side of Pella's square. Grandstand tickets for Festhouden and the evenin

    April 16, 2014

  • Spawning fish for better fishing The annual spring fish netting is underway at Rathbun Lake, Spirit Lake and Guttenberg and will begin Tuesday night at Storm Lake, as the spawning season picks up steam. Staff from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources collects walleye, northern p

    April 16, 2014

  • Chronic wasting disease found in wild deer OTTUMWA — Since 2002, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has collected more than 50,000 samples of captive and wild deer in Iowa in an effort to look for cases of chronic wasting disease. On April 9, they confirmed an infected wild deer had bee

    April 15, 2014

  • Good Shepherd Food Pantry making a difference BLAKESBURG — Good Shepherd Food Pantry in Blakesburg began its third full year of operation this month. Start-up funds included the South Central United Methodist Conference grant of $1,200 and a large cash donation from Hope Well Church in response

    April 15, 2014

  • Council approves sale to Historical Preservation Society BLAKESBURG — Blakesburg City Council on Monday approved sale of the museum property to Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society. The $4,000 bid submitted by BHPS was the only bid received. Terms of the bid include a clause that if at sometime the p

    April 15, 2014

  • Construction Trades pic 1 Marion County building permits on the rise

    It's expected to be a busy construction season around Marion County. According to County Zoning Administrator Missy Poffenbarger, her office has issued 17 building permits since March 18. 

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Zones photo 2 Blue Zones kicks off in Osky

    OSKALOOSA -- Blue Zones Project held its Oskaloosa Kickoff Monday evening at the Oskaloosa High School gym to help improve the community's health. Blue Zones originated with Dan Buettner of National Geographic. He was asked to find areas of the world

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Medical marijuana bill may surface in Senate DES MOINES (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he will sponsor a bill legalizing the sale of medical marijuana in Iowa, reviving an issue once thought dead this year. The persistent efforts of woman who have children with epilepsy chang

    April 15, 2014

  • Branstad: Action needed to protect Iowa students DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has called on the Legislature to take action following an Iowa Supreme Court ruling that found school coaches cannot be convicted of sexual exploitation by a school employee under current law. The Iowa Supr

    April 15, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National