Dairy co-op launches loan program to fund renewable energy upgrades

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

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

The country’s largest organic cooperative is partnering with Clean Energy Credit Union to launch the Powering the Good Loan Fund to provide the favorable loan terms for farmers seeking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels with renewable energy systems and energy efficiency upgrades.

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

Loans can be used for solar electric systems to offset farm energy consumption, farm energy efficiency upgrades and geothermal systems and ground-source heat pumps for heating and cooling.

The interest rates for the program will be below 5%. Loans for energy efficiency upgrades are currently between 2.75-4.24% with term options of three, five and 10 years. Rates for solar loans are between 4.49-4.99% with terms of 12, 15 or 20 years. Rakobitsch said no collateral is required beyond the new energy equipment; farm assets are not encumbered.

Bob Kirchoff, Organic Valley chief executive officer, noted that Organic Valley already plays a key role in sequestering carbon through its farmers’ regenerative farming practices, like rotational grazing. 

“Organic Valley leads on renewable energy. We have been 100% renewable powered in our owned facilities since 2019, and now we are going a step further,” he said, in a statement. “We are focused on a whole systems approach to renewable energy, and I’m excited to debut this energy loan fund.” 

Organic Valley, based in La Farge, Wisconsin, represents nearly 1,800 farmers in the U.S., 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 Union, based in Englewood, Colorado, is a not-for-profit, financial services cooperative that focuses exclusively on providing loans for clean energy and energy-saving projects. It’s an online/digital-only and federally chartered credit union that serves its members throughout the country.


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