For the first time in its history,
Ag Energy Co-operative recently declared natural gas patronage rebates
totaling $590,000 on all member consumption during the year ended
August 31, 2004.
For the first time in its history, Ag Energy Co-operative recently declared natural gas patronage rebates totaling $590,000 on all member consumption during the year ended August 31, 2004. The co-operative was formed in 1988 when a few greenhouse growers in Ontario leveraged their combined natural gas consumption to obtain wholesale pricing. Since then, the co-operative has grown into Canada’s largest farm energy co-operative. In late 2003, membership was opened to all agricultural producers, processors and their respective associations in Ontario. “In this environment of very high energy prices, we are thrilled to be in a position to declare patronage rebates,” says Gary Gander, Leamington area greenhouse operator and co-operative president. The rebates are in addition to the savings members received when the co-operative decreased prices for this winter season. In early 2004, the co-operative collaborated with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to jointly offer its first Electricity Program to farming operations in Ontario. Collectively, the two organizations were able to negotiate a per kWh rate below the government’s guaranteed cap. “With the support and assistance of the OFA, farming operations consuming about 1/3 of all agricultural needs enrolled in the program,” says Mike Bouk, executive director of Ag Energy. “We have always been the best kept secret in Ontario agriculture,” says Robert Bierhuizen of Vineland, founding member and past president. “The secret is getting out.” Ag Energy Co-operative is Canada’s largest farm energy co-operative, supplying approximately one-third of all the heat and one-third of all the electricity consumed by agricultural producers in Ontario.
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