There are many barriers that agriculture producers face when considering efficiency improvements on farms and ranches, but the three primary barriers are financing, education, and time.
The agriculture industry is highly competitive, which results in increasingly tight profit margins. It is difficult for agriculture producers to justify efficiency improvements when they don’t see a return on their investment immediately. Financial incentives from utilities for installing energy and water efficiency measures help, but sometimes they are not enough to justify the capital investment.
The second barrier to energy and water efficiency is education. The Alliance interviewed growers as part of the urban agriculture study in 2016 and found that there is often a lack of knowledge in the various energy and water efficiency options available. Growers expressed an interest in having a better relationship with their utilities so they could know what type of incentive opportunities are available. Another issue is the limited sharing of knowledge and best practices among growers. Growers expressed interest in a more central database of resources so they could stay on top of best practices and technology advancements.
Finally, the third challenge that agriculture producers face when considering energy and water efficiency opportunities is time. While many agriculture producers are interested in improving the efficiency of the establishments, many cite that they don’t have the time and resources required to research various options.