Program Focus

Cooperating Agencies

Program Participants



Current Projects

Long Day Lighting with LED for Dairy

The project will: 1) design, install and implement an automated LED Long Day Lighting (LDL) system to improve lighting efficiency and maximize milk production on a Michigan dairy farm; and 2) Analyze energy efficiency savings of a currently installed evacuated tube and flat plate solar hot water systems. In order to attain maximum production impact of Long Day Lighting both farms selected will have two-a-day milking production schedules. Lighting energy cost will be compared to the use and expansion of current lighting systems to attain the targeted lighting levels required in Long Day Lighting operations. Milk production and feed costs will also be compared to previous years prior to LDL to determine the effectiveness of the automated LED LDL system in increasing milk production and increasing profits. Analysis of energy savings under field operations of an evacuated tube solar system and a flat plate direct hot water solar system will provide dairy farmers with actual savings data to assist in adopting these energy saving technologies.

Solar Water Heater

Our most recent project involves solar water heaters. The research on solar water heaters at this time are unexpansive. The question we ask ourselves is, "Which type is best?"

The goal of this research is to determined which solar water heater works best and when. As data is collected it is used to help solve the problem. The two types of solar water heaters include one from SunMaxx ThermoPower Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors and the other is a flate plate water heater from Sunevelop.

Evacuated Tube Solar Water Heater located near the milking palor of the farm
This is the Data Acquisition System associated with the Evacuated Tubes


USDA Rural Development is the leading advocate for rural America. The mission area supports rural communities and enhances quality of life for rural residents by improving economic opportunities, community infrastructure, environmental health, and the sustainability of agricultural production.

Rural Development also offers programs to provide the educational opportunities, training, technical support, and tools for rural residents to start small businesses and to access jobs in agricultural markets, the green economy, and other existing markets, as well as acquire training in vocational and entrepreneurship skills they can use in the marketplace and business sector. USDA, in cooperation with our public and private partners, is connecting rural residents to the global economy by:

Increasing access to broadband and continuous business creation;

Facilitating sustainable renewable energy development;

Developing regional food systems;

Capitalizing on climate change opportunities; and

Generating and retaining jobs through recreation and natural resource restoration, conservation, and management.

Audit Training

Phase 3 Dairy: Completed

Irrigation: Fall

Renewable Energy Assessment:

News Updates

MI Energy Office Awards 2 New Projects


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