Dear Editor: 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. Commitment to renewable energy will help the economy grow, decrease dependence on fossil fuels, and create a healthier environment for future generations. That is why Organic Valley is pledging its support of renewable energy provisions within the Clean Energy Jobs Act, currently under consideration in the Wisconsin Legislature.

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.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act includes an Enhanced Renewable Portfolio Standard, which will allow Wisconsin residents to receive 25 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2025, with at least 10 percent 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 farmers 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. We promote on-farm renewable energy projects through our Farmer Renewable Energy Program and 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.

For more information about the Clean Energy Jobs Act, visit RENEW Wisconsin’s FAQ page.

Cecil Wright, vice president, sustainability and local operations for Organic Valley

La Farge

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