The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

October 8, 2013

Federal boost for farms' renewal energy in doubt

CHICAGO — Solar panels are cropping up alongside corn on Timothy Ridgely's Illinois farm. Irrigation equipment powered by the sun is pumping away on Daniel Chin's third-generation Oregon potato farm. And manure is being converted to electricity on an Ohio hog farm.

Across rural America, thousands of farms and small businesses are turning to renewable energy to cut costs and boost their often uncertain bottom lines, increasingly with the help of a decade-old federal program that aimed to hasten change in a part of the economy that had been slow to embrace it — yet where the electric bill can mean the difference between hiring a worker or laying one off.

Some were skeptical.

"My wife thought I was crazy," said Ridgely, who at age 70 recently installed 90 solar panels on the 2,700-acre southeastern Illinois farm where he grows corn, soybeans and wheat and his son raises beef cattle. Last year, he said, he cut his $5,500-a-year electric bill by about 40 percent when he installed a batch of panels. After installing more panels with help from the Agriculture Department's Rural Energy for America Program, he figures he'll be 100 percent self-sufficient.

"It takes a lot of electricity to run the house and barns, and every little bit helps," said Ridgely, who also touts the environmental benefits of solar power.

But the program's growing popularity could be its undoing. Some conservative groups have taken aim at the program, which costs up to $300 million over five years, in the congressional debate over a new farm bill, saying the program unfairly undercuts coal and other traditional energy businesses.

"The last thing we need is the federal government injecting itself into the system," said Daniel Simmons, a representative of the American Energy Alliance. He says his organization doesn't oppose renewable energy, but believes the program amounts to a government subsidy.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Obamacare hit by ruling, but subsidies to continue

    A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bice Nurses earn Daisy awards

    CLINTON — Two Clinton nurses recently earned Daisy awards.Mercy Medical Center nurses Jodie Atkinson and Kristen Bice earned the awards that is rewarded to extraordinary nurses. Atkinson began her career in nursing at Mercy Medical Center in 1995 on

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hopkins to pay $190M after doc taped pelvic exams

    Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to more than 8,000 women whose bodies may have been videotaped or photographed by a gynecologist using a pen-like camera during pelvic exams.

    July 21, 2014

  • Before doctors check your vitals, check out theirs WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans consider insurance and a good bedside manner in choosing a doctor, but will that doctor provide high-quality care? A new poll shows that people don’t know how to determine that.Being licensed and likable doesn’t necessari

    July 21, 2014

  • McDonald's, KFC in China face scandal BEIJING — McDonald’s and KFC in China faced a new food safety scare today after a Shanghai television station reported a supplier sold them expired beef and chicken.The companies said they immediately stopped using meat from the supplier, Husi Food C

    July 21, 2014

  • Locally-grown foods look to bigger business

    Once a niche business, locally grown foods aren't just for farmers markets anymore.

    July 16, 2014

  • U.S. Alzheimer's rate dropping The rate of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is falling in the United States and some other rich countries — good news about an epidemic that is still growing simply because more people are living to an old age, new studies show.An American ov

    July 16, 2014

  • Blueberries 10 fresh ways to use fresh blueberries There are muffins, of course. And pancakes. And the obligatory fruit salad. But then what? After all the usual suspects, how do you handle a seasonal abundance of blueberries?As long as you’re willing to consider a few fresh approaches, it’s actually

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.