A dairy cooperative launches a loan program to finance the modernization of renewable energies

Jersey Organic Valley cow stands in a pasture (photo submitted)

Organic Valley wants to help fund renewable energy installations on farms across rural America.

The largest organic cooperative in the country is partnership with Clean Energy Credit Union to launch the Powering the Good Loan Fund to provide favorable lending terms to farmers seeking to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels through renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.

The program is the first of its kind for both cooperatives. To accelerate energy improvements, Organic Valley and Clean Energy Credit Union are deploying a $ 1 million fund with expansion plans. It opens to Organic Valley cooperative farmers on April 1, said Nicole Rakobitsch, sustainability director of Organic Valley.

The loans can be used for solar power systems to offset farm energy use, farm energy efficiency upgrades, and geothermal systems and ground source heat pumps for heating and cooling.

The interest rates of the program will be less than 5%. Loans for energy efficiency improvements currently range between 2.75% and 4.24% with term options of three, five and 10 years. Solar loan rates are between 4.49% and 4.99% with terms of 12, 15 or 20 years. Rakobitsch said that no collateral is required beyond the new energy equipment; agricultural property is not encumbered.

Bob Kirchoff, CEO of Organic Valley, noted that Organic Valley already plays a key role in carbon sequestration through regenerative agricultural practices of its farmers, such as rotational grazing.

“Organic Valley is a leader in renewable energies. We have been powered 100% by renewable energy in our own facilities since 2019, and now we are going even further, ”he said in a statement. “We are focused on a holistic systems approach to renewable energy, and I am delighted to launch this energy loan fund. ”

Bio Valley, based in La Farge, Wisconsin, represents nearly 1,800 farmers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Organic Valley works with 195 dairies in Ohio, 242 in Pennsylvania, and four in West Virginia.

Clean Energy Credit Unionn, based in Englewood, Colo., is a nonprofit financial services cooperative that focuses exclusively on providing loans for clean energy and energy conservation projects. It is an online / digital-only, federally chartered credit union that serves members across the country.

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