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Michigan Energy Regulators Discuss Future Challenges
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Representatives from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) toured a series of local farms and agribusinesses today to discuss the energy needs of Michigan’s agriculture sector.


Source: Michigan Agri-Business Association

Michigan Energy Regulators Tour Local Farms and Agribusinesses to Discuss Future Energy Challenges


Representatives from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) toured a series of local farms and agribusinesses today to discuss the energy needs of Michigan’s agriculture sector.

“Understanding the different energy requirements of various sectors of Michigan’s economy is important for making decisions about future energy policy,” said John D. Quackenbush, chairman of the MPSC.  “This was a great opportunity to get a hands-on tour of the specific energy and wireless broadband needs of Michigan’s agriculture sector. We appreciate the opportunity to hear from the people working in the industry about the challenges they face and how to best create opportunities for their businesses to grow.”

Michigan’s agriculture industry faces unique challenges when it comes to energy and infrastructure issues, and the tour was an opportunity for farmers and business leaders to discuss some of those concerns with Michigan’s regulators.

One issue is that many farms and agricultural businesses are located in rural areas, literally at the “end of the line” for energy access. For these businesses, lack of access to adequate power can be the deciding factor in whether to expand. Additionally, many rural areas don’t have access to three-phase electrical power, which is particularly important for farmers and agribusinesses that need it to safely run large equipment and irrigation systems.

“Agriculture is a major economic driver in Michigan and the backbone of our rural economies,” said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association. “Ensuring adequate access to energy and wireless broadband infrastructure will be a major factor in whether or not agricultural businesses can expand, open new locations and continue creating jobs and economic development in Michigan. We want to thank the MPSC and the MEDC for taking the time today to speak with the agriculture industry about the challenges unique to this sector.”

The group toured Green Meadows Farms in Elsie, Walther Farms in Hemlock, Auburn Bean and Grain in Hemlock, Michigan Agricultural Commodities in Breckenridge and Crop Production Services in Breckenridge. Topics included: electricity prices in Michigan, energy supply in rural areas, access to three-phase power, distributive generation, local wind farms, and the ways that agriculture uses wireless broadband for farming applications and to access markets.