Radiance Dairy to host field day Sept. 14
Francis and Susan Thicke, owners and operaters of Radiance Dairy near Fairfield, invite farmers and the public to learn about their quest to become more energy independent at a free Practical Farmers of Iowa field day from 2-5 p.m. Sept. 14.
The Thickes have installed a suite of renewable energy systems to help them lower their farm energy costs.
During “Harvesting Energy: Wind and Solar Power,” attendees will get to explore how Radiance Dairy harvests alternative energy, which is created or captured on the farm with a 40 kilowatt wind turbine, solar-thermal hot water heater, solar-powered pumping system for livestock watering and geothermal heating and cooling system. By grazing their cows, the Thickes also save energy because the cows harvest their own forage.
“Renewable energy will become increasingly important as energy costs continue to escalate,” Francis Thicke said. “That’s one reason I wanted to start now, to get things in place as energy costs go up. I wanted to try various things and make them pay for themselves. Energy self-sufficiency on the farm is a combination of a variety of systems that contribute to the whole.”
He adds having a diverse mix of on-farm energy systems is one aspect that appeals.
“I like the idea that with alternative energy, a variety of systems can be used together to address on-farm energy needs. I’m not dependent on just one system.”
Because the wind turbine is the Thickes’ newest addition, they will discuss planning, installing and operating a wind turbine. Additional speakers will include Rich Schuler, PFI Energy program consultant, and Troy Van Beek, president and renewable energy expert with Ideal Energy.
Guests will tour the farm’s 60-paddock grazing system and on-farm dairy processing facilities, and have a chance to generate their own energy with PFI’s Energy Generation and Conservation demonstration.
The dairy is at 1745 Brookville Road, 5 miles northwest of Fairfield.