Milk the Savings

Dairy Energy Efficiency Program

From July 2014 through December 2015, CERTs guided dairy farmers across Minnesota through the steps necessary to save energy in their operations.

From July 2014 through December 2015, CERTs guided dairy farmers across Minnesota through the steps necessary to save energy in their operations.

CERTs answered questions about energy efficiency for dairy barns and walked farmers through the funding options available for barn energy efficiency upgrades. We helped them consider renewable energy options, too. Thanks to the McKnight Foundation for their support of this effort.


2.2 billion BTUs/year (654,415 kWh savings, enough to power 58 homes’ electricity use for an entire year)

$62,170/year and $21,246 in one-time savings through utility rebates

19 farms learning, 6 taking action


  Milk the Savings Campaign Resources

Milk the Savings

Get your energy savings moooving with CERTs!


CERTs can answer questions about energy efficiency for dairy barns and will guide you through the funding options available for barn energy efficiency upgrades. We can help you consider renewable energy options, too.

Check out the resources below to learn more about LED lighting, other energy upgrades, and the available funding for both. Fill out a form to request assistance or reach out to Fritz at 612-626-1028 when you’re ready!

Click on a step below to get started!

Program Menu

Step 1: Learn about energy efficiency Step 2: Take an inventory of existing lighting & equipment Step 3: Get rebates from your electric utility Step 4: Decide on additional funding to pursue Step 5: Consider renewable energy

Learn About Energy Efficiency

Review the dairy energy efficiency process map and think about necessary upgrades to your equipment:


Check out this presentation to see energy efficiency opportunities in the dairy production process, as well as other energy-saving upgrades:


Want to learn more about energy efficiency for milk cooling, cow comfort, lighting, and other operations?





Take an Inventory of Existing Lighting & Equipment

Take an inventory of your existing dairy lighting and equipment, then fill out the form below to get support from CERTs.

Download and fill out the CERTs Lighting Inventory worksheet to think about lighting and equipment upgrades (cash prize no longer available).

Fill out the form below to get support from CERTs



Get Rebates from Your Electric Utility

CERTs can help you connect with your electric utility to be sure you get all the rebates ($$$) you can.

View the funding comparison chart to see how utility rebates compare to other funding.


Decide on Additional Funding to Pursue

Decide which of the following additional funding opportunities you want to pursue, if any. Note that they can work together! There is a section on each of these below.



View the funding comparison chart to see how all of these funding options compare to one another.

Get started with USDA NRCS EQIP

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps farmers evaluate energy saving opportunities and provides financial assistance to help make energy upgrades happen. EQIP requires an audit first, which the program pays for most, if not all, of it. After the audit, you can apply for financial assistance for any recommendations in the audit.

  • Get an application in to receive a 100% cost-covered, comprehensive energy audit of your barn operations. If you already have an audit under your belt, see if it is eligible for moving forward to get some of your audit’s recommendations cost-shared by NRCS EQIP.
  • Stop by your local USDA office to work on an application—the field office staff are always willing to get through the paperwork with you! EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis with application cut-off dates.

Get started with USDA RD REAP

Rural small businesses and agricultural producers can apply for grants and guaranteed loans to fund energy efficiency improvements or renewable energy systems through USDA Rural Development (RD) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

  • Get 25% of your project costs covered through a grant or 75% covered through a loan. A new streamlined application will make applying easy enough to do without a grantwriter. Upcoming grant application deadlines are October 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017. Submit guaranteed loan applications anytime.

Get started with MDA Grant

A grant offered from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture covers 10% of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Complete a short and relatively easy application. Best part? CERTs is happy to help you complete sections of it and write a Letter of Support. A little bird told us that odds of receiving this grant are very good. The application for the grant program is open from September 6, 2016 to December 16, 2016. You might also consider an MDA Farm Opportunity Loan.

Get started with PACE

Property Assessed Clean Energy is a cash-flow positive way to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades through a voluntary property assessment. This program has no cut-off date, but your city or county must have a PACE program.


Consider Renewable Energy

Want to go further and install renewable energy on your farm?

Check out Renewable Energy for Greater Minnesota to receive tailored assistance for pursuing renewables like solar, wind, or biomass on your farm.

Click to learn more


  Contact CERTs

Have questions about dairy energy efficiency? Contact Fritz at CERTs.

Fritz Ebinger Fritz Ebinger is the CERTs Rural Energy Development Program Manager for UofM RSDP and Extension. In this role, he works on energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with agricultural producers to reduce farm production costs and advance utility conservation planning. Fritz graduated from St. John’s University in 2001 and served in the Peace Corps as an Agroforestry Volunteer in Panama from 2001-2003. He attended Drake Law School, graduating and passing the Minnesota Bar in 2008. While at Drake, he focused on agricultural, environmental, and natural resources law and wrote for the Drake Agricultural Law Journal. Following graduation, Fritz clerked for Judges Joe Chase and Robert Birnbaum in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District from 2008-2010 and was a solo practitioner from 2011-2013. Most recently, he comes to CERTs from The Minnesota Project where he managed their farm energy programs.
Contact info: or 612-626-1028.


  In the News

Dairy Star’s Finding technologies to be more efficient December 23, 2014 – Lunch & Learn event re-cap