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Southwest Michigan poultry farm completes solar project COURTESY PHOTO

Southwest Michigan poultry farm completes solar project

BY Tuesday, July 28, 2020 04:37pm

A Southwest Michigan poultry farm recently completed a $650,000 solar energy project to offset the facility’s power usage throughout the year.

Owners of the White Pigeon-based Stutzman Poultry Farm said the 870-panel project carries on the family-owned facility’s “legacy of sustainability.”

“The switch to solar was an easy choice for the future of our farm to ensure that our grandkids can continue to operate our farm long into the future in a way that is healthy for our community and our planet,” third-generation farm owner Mat Stutzman said in a statement. “Our commitment to green energy carries on our legacy of sustainability, which started when my grandfather began farming here in 1961, with smarter land and water management, planting cover crops and utilizing organic fertilizers.”

Stutzman said it’s the first broiler poultry farm — a breed of chickens raised specifically for commercial meat production — in the state to run on solar. The array is expected to produce 425,000 kilowatt hours of power annually, which will offset all of the farm’s power usage.

The two-year project was supported by grant funding from the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for American Program (REAP). USDA officials said the Stutzman project is the first REAP project in Southwest Michigan and is an “excellent model for others looking to switch to solar energy,” said Jason Allen, the USDA’s rural development state director in Michigan.

Stutzman contract raises chickens for Indiana-based Miller Poultry, which markets the product under Miller Amish Country, Katie’s Best and Pine Manor Farms brands nationwide.

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