Brubaker Farms: 2012 Center for Advanced Energy Studies/Idaho National Laboratory Award for Outstanding Achievement in Energy
Working with and through the community
Luke, Mike and Tony Brubaker want you to know you are not alone when it comes to energy efficiency. In fact, it pays to surround yourself with knowledgeable people. Brubaker Farms, in Mount Joy, Pa., has mastered energy efficiency and created a successful profit stream. Manure from their cows is processed through a digester system to produce enough electricity for the entire farm and approximately 200 surrounding homes; and three solar panels totaling 10,000 square feet produce an additional 130 to 150 kWh on sunny days.
This success can be attributed, in part, to the relationships they’ve developed. The Brubakers have hosted governors at their facility, consulted businesses on energy efficient practices and welcomed other farmers to share their lessons learned and best practices. The Brubakers' commitment to energy management started with an economic challenge — with unstable milk prices, relying on dairy production alone would not make the best business model. To turn their vision into a reality, the Brubakers met with and learned from other farmers working with biogas, government agencies offering funding and guidance, local utilities buying renewable energy and local colleges looking to avoid putting food waste in landfills. The result: In a recent year, when the price paid to farmers for milk was especially low, Brubaker Farms made more money selling electricity than it did from selling milk.
A Visit to Brubaker Farms
Leading the way to a sustainable future is exactly what this year’s winner, Brubaker Farms of Mount Joy, Pa. is doing. The Brubaker family shared some of their best practices during a recent visit.