The U.S. Department of Agriculture is carrying out a survey to see how farm equipment operators and ranchers are doing in producing renewable energy.
The USDA's On-Farm Energy Production Survey was started recently and will count the number of farms and ranches that create renewable energy through different means, including methane digesters. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the survey gives producers an opportunity to feature the steps they've taken to help the country reduce its dependence on foreign sources.
"The survey results will provide agricultural producers, policymakers and the public with factual data about the economic and environmental implications of on-farm energy production," Vilsack said.
The survey is being conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which is mailing forms out to producers. Farmers and ranchers are being have been selected to partake in the survey based information gathered during the 2007 Census of Agriculture.
While the USDA looks to collect data on renewable energy, the department also extended a program it runs with the Environmental Protection Agency. The AgStar program provides funds for producers that want to reduce methane emissions from livestock operations.