Henry Mesple Farms

The Greening of California Farms

California farmers just keep getting greener.

Growers, packers and shippers - and dozens of those dot the bountiful San Joaquin Valley of Central California - are increasingly discovering advantages to renewable energy, predominately solar.

This Packer story notes that three more farming enterprises - Live Oak Farms of LeGrand, DeBenedetto Orchards of Chowchilla and Henry Mesple Farms of Fresno - are installing solar systems to help power packing and cold-storage operations, headquarters and water pumps.

These projects are more evidence that California farmers, who already lead the nation in renewable energy, are serious about cutting their carbon footprints and their energy bills.

Consider this quote to The Packer by Bob Giampaoli, managing partner of Live Oak Farms: "Sustainability has been a priority for Live Oak Farms since our first harvest."

It also makes sense economically. Water pumps and other farm-related uses accounted for 13% and 11% respectively of the energy consumed in Fresno and Kern counties in 2009, according to figures we've cited.

Renewable energy, particularly solar, makes sense in the San Joaquin Valley in other ways too. We have lots of sun, ample land for solar arrays, lots of flat roofs for rooftop systems, access to the transmission grid and sky high power bills.

Photo by visitsunworks.wordpress