As of 2020, Lazy Eight Stock Farm, which borders the counties of Madison and Garrard, now has barn-top solar.
After a switch to a wood-fired boiler in 2015 saved them over $3,100 a year, allowing them to further invest in necessary farm updates, the Baumanns found a new appreciation for energy savings.
Lazy Eight Stock Farm is a 420 acre Certified Organic farm located on the banks of the Paint Lick Creek.
Currently, Carla and Lothar Baumann and their son, Bryce, his wife Anna, and their two children, call the farm home. Though the farm has been in agriculture since 1947, Lothar, a high school teacher and woodworker, and Carla, a public health nurse, raised their first crop of sweet corn to sell at the Berea Farmer’s Market in 1979.
Their son, Bryce, is the first full time farmer in the family in four generations, raising his first crops of sweet corn, tomatoes, and strawberries as a middle schooler. The farm continued to operate traditionally for many years with cattle and tobacco, even as Bryce was learning how to raise produce, livestock.
The last crop of tobacco was raised in 1997 and in 2011, they sold their last group of conventional feeder calves. The next year, in 2012, they joined the USDA Certified Organic Program and began a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which has become the lifeblood of the farm. Their CSA season can start as early as second week of March and extend up to second week of October, with deliveries to Berea, Richmond, Danville and Lexington areas.
In 2015, the Mountain Association worked with Lazy Eight to help them apply for two grants to purchase a wood-fired boiler. They received over $23,000 with $10,000 from the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) On-Farm Energy Efficiency Program and the remainder from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). As a result, they have saved an estimated $3,160 per year in avoided energy use. The Mountain Association worked with them to complete their required third-party energy audit, and assisted them in packaging their applications.
In 2019, the Mountain Association again worked with Lazy Eight, as well as Southdown Farm, a maple syrup producer in Letcher County, on successful GOAP On-Farm applications for solar energy projects. Lazy Eight was awarded a total of $15,661. We also helped Lazy Eight apply for an additional $7,500 from USDA REAP funding, which is to be announced. In total, they again are expected to bring in about $23,100 in grant funding to support the solar installation. With grant funding and savings, the system is expected to pay for itself in 3.2 years.
The solar panels, mounted on the barn, represent a 15 kilowatt system. This system will generate additional energy per year beyond the farming operation’s estimated 15,409 kilowatt hours of consumption per year.
The remaining generation will be available for anticipated increased farm infrastructure use. With the growth in market gardens and CSA shares, has come growth in energy consuming infrastructure to run the farm operations. Having recently constructed a new walk-in cooler, the Baumanns also have plans to add central heat and air conditioning to their future packing shed.
The Mountain Association is proud to support farmers with on-farm energy projects. Please contact us for more information.