The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

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
Local News
  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be. The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three appointed to Board of Adjustment OTTUMWA — Three new faces will appear on Wapello County Board of Adjustment, thanks to help from the county’s newspaper of record, the Ottumwa Courier. Four applicants applied for the positions and three were selected. New members include Marcia Week

    July 22, 2014

  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook