White Farms, a family-owned general partnership that operates a grain farming business in rural Carroll County of McKenzie, Tenn., was interested in producing electricity from solar as a renewable energy source for its farming operation. With the desire to become a “greener” facility, White Farms wanted to lower its impact on global climate change by reducing the usage of fossil fuels to generate electricity.
Jeff White contacted USDA Rural Development office in Union City to seek funds to assist with the purchase and installation of a 49.725 kW solar array. As a qualified recipient of the Rural Energy for America Program, White Farms received a grant of $34,450 (25 percent of the total Renewable Energy Project) to make the purchase of a solar system more affordable. In addition, the project provided an additional source of revenue for White Farms, as the energy generated may be sold back to the grid for a premium.
With the partnership created among USDA RD, Carroll County Electric Department, Tennessee Valley Authority and Omega Energy Solutions, the solar array was successfully installed and will create 70,799 kWh which is enough energy to power seven households each year.
White Farms started in 1969 and has grown to approximately 4,800 acres of row crops: wheat, soybeans, white corn and yellow corn. In 2014, the Carroll County Soil Conservation District awarded White Farms with the 2014 Conservation Farmer of the Year. As an operation that works toward being good stewards of the land, White Farms was recognized for its Best Management Practices and winter cover crop practices.
USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Northwest Tennessee contact the Union City Area Office at 731-885-6480 x 4. Visit us online at www.rd.usda.gov/TN.