Agriculture has developed into an energy-intensive business. Farmers and ranchers use energy:
According to the 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture, production expenses for gasoline and other fuels increased by 93 percent between 2002 and 2007. Fertilizer expenses increased by 86 percent.
For example, energy use patterns can vary widely from dryland and irrigated cropping systems. According to the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Northwest agriculture uses five percent of the electricity consumed in the region: 85 percent is used for irrigation, 5 percent at dairy operations and 10 percent for other agricultural uses.
A 2009 bill signed by Governor Chris Gregoire (E2SSB 5649) acknowledges the importance of energy efficiency on farms and the current lack of opportunity to evaluate and conserve all types of energy.
On the national level, the 2002 and 2008 farm bills directed agencies to assist producers who want to reduce the use of fossil fuel energy. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture responded by:
According to NRCS:
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