PennTAP Helps Small Mercer County Farm Acquire Funding, Upgrade Grain Dryer

We were able to obtain grant money for a grain dryer upgrade/replacement. This in turn saved us considerable money and time. [about PennTAP] Great service, great people!

Chris Nickel, Owner, Nickel Farm

The Need

Nickel Farm, located in Sharpsville, PA, is a small family-owned farm which raises dairy cattle for milk production and grows corn and soybeans. The farm needed an energy audit as well as assistance with a grant application to upgrade its grain dryer.  

The PennTAP Connection

Nickel Farm learned about PennTAP through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). Chris Nickel, Nickel Farm owner, contacted PennTAP for an assessment as well as assistance with applying for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant and a Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) to upgrade his outdoor grain dryer with a more energy efficient in-bin grain dryer. 

The Project

A PennTAP technical advisor completed an energy audit at Nickel Farm in March of 2020 focusing on the farm’s existing grain dryer. In addition to the grain dryer upgrade, PennTAP recommended upgrading the lighting to LED bulbs, and replacing the blades of the livestock fans with carbon fiber blades. PennTAP also recommended a funding strategy that would allow Nickel Farm to implement the recommended energy efficiency projects while maximizing the amount of grant dollars received. 

With PennTAP’s help, Nickel Farm was awarded $7,000 through an SBAG to upgrade their grain dryer. Nickel Farm also submitted a REAP grant application that, if successful, will result in an additional $15,076 in funding. 

Energy Savings

Nickel Farm has upgraded its grain dryer, resulting in 1,062 kWh/yr in electric savings, 85 MMBtu/yr in propane savings, and $1,351/yr in total cost savings. It is estimated that upgrading the lighting will save 7,113 kWh/yr, plus $853/yr, and upgrading to carbon fiber blades will save 5,280 kWh/yr, plus $634/yr. 

About the Client

Nickel Farm
284 Daley Road
Sharpsville, PA 16150
Phone: (724) 734-1994
County: Mercer
Industry: Agriculture