An innovative pilot project introducing electric tractors as a more efficient and cost-effective way to farm.
PRINEVILLE, ORE. - Forth, Sustainable Northwest, and Wy'East RC&D have teamed up to launch a new electric tractor pilot in Crook County, OR. with the goal of increasing knowledge, access, and adoption of electric farm equipment.
Pacific Power selected Crook County Fairgrounds to receive an Electric Mobility Grant award to help advance local electric transportation. The project includes an electric tractor for use at the fairgrounds and other regional demonstrations. This project also includes two Level 2 chargers to be installed at the Crook County Fairgrounds site.
"Farmers and ranchers have to make a lot of decisions based on unknown variables, and profit margins can be thin," said Robert Wallace with Wy'East RC&D. "This effort will demonstrate the benefits of electric agricultural equipment, starting with electric tractors. From fuel savings, reduced maintenance and downtime, reductions in diesel emissions, to increased health and safety for farmworkers, we hope to prove this technology is a win-win for Oregon's farming community."
The team has recently secured funding for the project and will have an electric tractor shipped to Crook County. The tractor will be installed with remote sensors that will allow the team to collect data and measure savings potential. "We will be testing a variety of farming operations, from orchards and livestock operations to vegetable farms and indoor horse-riding arenas," said Bridget Callahan of Sustainable Northwest.
There have been great advancements in the electric passenger vehicle market, as battery technology and other innovations are allowing EVs to travel further for longer, but progress in electric agricultural sectors has lagged. This project aims to change that. "The chargers involved in the program will be the first in the county," said Forth's Erin Galiger. "Forth is excited to share this technology with visitors and residents of Crook County."
The team looks to evaluate and scale a variety of electric agricultural technologies as part of a broader electrification effort that supports Oregon's natural resource sectors and communities within Crook County. This includes expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure at businesses, farm stands, and publicly available stations across Oregon. "This is a great opportunity for our local farmers to test these new tractors' economic viability," said Crook County Judge, Seth Crawford. "We are also working with the schools, 4H and FFA to give our students the opportunity to learn about this new tech."
Connecting people to the technology is a critical component of this project, and these tractors will be available for demonstration field tours, county fairs, and other public events starting Spring 2021.
Funding for these grants is made possible by the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, administered by the state Department of Environmental Quality, and aims to reduce the carbon intensity of Oregon's transportation fuels.
Forth is a nonprofit organization advancing electric, shared and smart transportation through innovation, demonstration, advocacy, and engagement. Learn more at www.forthmobility.org.