Savings Hatch Farm Improvements
By: Tom Lambert
Schipper Eggs has been delivering millions of eggs around the country for decades and chances are pretty good that you have enjoyed one.
That’s because the Holland farm is one of the largest producers in Michigan and one of only a couple that delivers to all McDonald’s east of the Mississippi River. The fast food giant purchases about 770 million eggs annually from the Mitten State.
As the poultry farm has grown from housing several hundred chickens to 1.6 million over the years since its inception in 1918, costs have gone up as has the need for more power. Enter Consumers Energy, which continues to help Schipper’s get the reliable service that they depend on while helping them save thousands of dollars through rebates and incentives. And there’s more to come.
“As a company, we try to be as cutting edge and sophisticated as possible,” said Tim Hofman, General Manager for Schipper Eggs LLC. “And Consumers Energy has helped us with that mission. The customer service has been excellent in bringing us up to speed on the latest cost saving programs
One program that got Schipper’s attention, and they signed up for earlier this year, was emergency demand response.
Here’s how it works: when electric load is high on the grid in summer, the demand response program asks businesses to keep their energy use to a minimum until otherwise notified.
Together, demand response participants create a “virtual” power plant that helps manage Michigan’s energy needs. And since demand response is “virtual” the electricity provided is green and renewable.
Just for signing up and being available if an emergency is called, Schipper is paid $25 for each KW they nominate to reduce in case of an emergency. Even if there is no emergency called, they are still paid.
Each October, they will receive a bill credit of $25,000, whether an emergency is called or not. Each time Schipper is requested to do that, it receives an additional incentive of about $200.
In all, 331 businesses served by Consumers Energy have earned more than $6.5 million in financial rewards through the demand response program since its creation in 2018.
The farm will also receive savings from the LED bulbs that it installed with the help of Consumers Energy through its energy efficiency program in buildings throughout the farm, including buildings housing chickens.
“On a farm any time you can save money and it helps you with your efficiency — you take it,” said Hofman, who has about 50 employees on the farm. “We reinvest whatever savings we get right back into the farm.”
That includes machinery used to harvest the corn and soybeans on the 1,000-acre farm. The grain is then used to help feed the chickens who eat up to 200 tons of food each day.
“It’s not easy being a farmer, it’s a tough, tough business,” Hofman said. “You learn to take from the good times and save them for the bad times. That’s why it helps to have somebody like Consumers Energy to be there for you in all times.”
Hofman said despite all the uncertainty in the world, farmers will continue to wake up each morning, harvest their fields and provide to millions of people. It helps to get an assist when needed.
“Farmers keep moving, no matter what is going on,” he said. “We need to keep moving. We don’t have a choice, people are depending on us, just like they depend on their energy provider.”
By the Numbers
50 Employees on Schipper Farm
200 Daily tons of feed for the chickens
1,200,000 Eggs produced on the farm daily
1,600,000 Chickens on the farm
770,000,000 Eggs McDonald’s purchases annually from Michigan farms, including Schipper Eggs