The Indiana Sheep Association (ISA), in conjunction with Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO), a subsidiary of NiSource Inc., will be hosting the first Indiana Solar Grazing Seminar June 6 free of charge for anyone interested in the practice of grazing sheep on solar power facilities, including current sheep producers, young farmers just starting out and interested industry partners.
Registration will begin at 8:30 am EST at the Jasper County Fairgrounds followed by a tour of NIPSCO’s solar farm development and afternoon sessions from industry professionals and farmers with experience in solar grazing. ISA leadership organized the seminar with the news of NIPSCO’s plans to have three new solar projects operational this year that will power more than 270,000 homes.
ISA President Jane Smith said, “Solar grazing is adding an exciting new dimension to Indiana’s sheep industry and may provide the potential for new and young producers to break into the sheep production business.”
The projects’ placement in northern Indiana on large stretches of acreage presents a prime opportunity for sheep producers to use these areas to graze sheep and maintain vegetation that would otherwise cover solar panels, hindering their collection of energy.
Speakers and topics include:
- Why Solar Farms? Why Now? Presented by Dan French, executive producer, SolarFarmSummit.com
- An Electric Utility/Solar Developer Perspective presented by Bryan Burns, NIPSCO Director of Renewable Assets.
- Overview of Sheep Grazing on a Solar Farm, presented by Caleb Scott, American Solar Grazing Association
- Pasture Management Considerations, presented by Elysia Rogers, Purdue University Extension
- Solar Farm Grazing Contract Options presented by a representative of the Indiana Farm Bureau Policy and Legal Team
- Developing a Sheep Grazing Plan presented by Paul Cummings, Sunovis Ranch LLC, energyRe; and Bret Kessler, CHR Livestock
- Market Options for Finished Lambs presented by Diedra Dezelitch, General Manager, Project Ribeye
The seminar will start and end at the Jasper County Fairgrounds in the Community Building, 2671 W. Clark St, Rensselaer. The event will offer a tour of the NiSource Solar Farm (transportation provided) at the start, and include a boxed lunch for attendees at 11:45 a.m. The session will wrap up around 4 p.m. Attendees may also choose to join the seminar post-tour for the afternoon sessions only, at which time additional registration and check-in will be available. Those interested in attending should RSVP via the Indiana Sheep Association website, www.indianasheep.com, on the home page, or contact ISA’s executive secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.