Electric Tractor for Sustainable Ag Tool Library

Electric Tractor for Sustainable Ag Tool Library

  • posted on: March 16, 2022
  • posted by: Rebecca Jordan
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Farmers of the Sustainable Ag Tool Share in the Sammamish Valley inspect the new Solectrac electric tractor.
Farmers of the Sustainable Ag Tool Share in the Sammamish Valley inspect the new Solectrac electric tractor.

Woodinville, WA—21 Acres received a grant from King Conservation District (KCD) to purchase an all-electric tractor as a lynchpin piece of equipment for a farmer-member tool share in the Sammamish Valley.

King Conservation District promotes the sustainable use of natural resources through technical assistance and educational programs in King County. This latest grant seeks to address farmer barriers to using regenerative practices.

Between record-breaking heat waves and historic flooding events, climate change affects the way farmers operate. Small farmers are eager to be part of the solution, but often lack the resources to effectively implement regenerative practices.

Farm Operations Lead Ansley Roberts drives the electric tractor purchased through funds from King Conservation District.
Farm Operations Lead Ansley Roberts drives the electric tractor purchased through funds from King Conservation District.

“We found that we needed a tractor to be able to steward our land responsibly,” said Liesl McWhorter, Co-Director at 21 Acres. “We thought, how can we use this opportunity to help our neighbors do the same?”

One of the largest barriers facing small and beginning farmers is access to equipment and land. Farms in the Sammamish Valley don’t often have enough land to qualify for loans. And at $35,000 per acre in King County, that means missed opportunities to address climate challenges.

“Farmers need precise ways to apply fertilizer and composts, and that’s labor-intensive work,” said Anthony Reyes, Farm Operations Lead at 21 Acres. “Access to a tractor enables farmers to be exact with measurements and opens up more potential to use regenerative methods like cover cropping.”

The electric tractor will serve as a vital piece of equipment in the Sustainable Ag Tool Library, a farmer-member project in beginning stages this spring. Area farms helped identify the need for the tool library, and are hoping to benefit all farmers in the Sammamish Valley Agricultural Production District (APD).

Farmers inspect the electric tractor purchased through funds through King Conservation District. “Small acreage in this APD has to be super productive with a tiny labor force—and labor here is expensive,” said McWhorter. “What’s hopeful is that these organizations are working together to address capacity challenges we’re all facing.”

The tool library will build upon the success of KCD’s Equipment Share in the greater Seattle area to provide heavy agriculture equipment and workshops for integration of regenerative practices.

The tool library’s new tractor is Solectrac’s e25 Compact Electric Tractor. According to Solectrac, their electric tractor is about 95% efficient. The tractor doesn’t sacrifice on pulling power, either—another critical factor for farmers. Unlike conventional equipment, the torque of electric motors is perfect for heavy-duty implements.

“Being energy efficient and lowering our reliance on fossil fuels is a win-win for regenerative farms,” said McWhorter.

For more information or to get involved in the Sustainable Ag Tool Library, email Rebecca Jordan: rebeccaj@21acres.org.  

 

About 21 Acres

21 Acres Center for Local Food & Sustainable Living is a nonprofit center for agroecological education whose purpose is to promote the benefits of local food systems within the context of climate challenges. We explore the relationship between our natural and built environments through food and farm-based educational programs, local foods farm market, and LEED Platinum certified building.

 
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