Written by Kelly Edwards, USDA Public Information Officer
Wisconsin Rural Development State Director, Stan Gruszynski, was joined by Marlene Mielke from U.S. Senator Kohl’s Office, Suzanne Brault-Pagel from U.S. Senator Russell Feingold’s Office and Adam Warpinski from Congressman Dr. Steve Kagen’s Office, various partners and many members of the community to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the completion of the new solar energy project on Kuehn Acres, a small dairy farm in Egg Harbor.
The day included a formal program where the state director presented Gerald Kuehn, with an Earth Day Award recognizing his initiative and accomplishments successfully acquiring and utilizing alternative energy for his farming operations. Additionally, third graders from the Gibraltar School District participated in an Earth Day Logo Design Contest, had an opportunity to tour the farm and learn about alternative energy and its positive impact on the environment.
“The best leadership is by example. That is the concept that fueled the initiative that started Earth Day 40 years ago, that is why we have singled out the Kuehn Family Farm today,” said Gruszynski.
In 2009, Kuehn Dairy Farm received a grant from USDA Rural Development to help purchase a solar system for their small grain and dairy farm in Door County. Estimated annual energy production is 8,239 kilowatts. Excess energy produced will be sent back to the grid, helping to lower energy costs for area residents. Partners on the project include Lake Michigan Wind and Sun, Wisconsin Focus on Energy, and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.
The Kuehn’s received funds through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which provides loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits.
“If we want a cleaner environment, if we want a sustainable future economically, if we want our young people to be wise in their use of our natural resources, then we must teach by example. It is the willingness of the Kuehn’s to take action toward a brighter future that we are recognizing and celebrating today,” Gruszynski concluded.
Kuehn Acres Dairy Farm in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, and new solar panels
Third Graders from Gibraltar, Wisconsin Area Schools meet the Dairy Cows
Third Graders from Gibraltar Area Schools in front of the new farm solar panels