A North Carolina livestock farm is getting greener while saving money with an electric pumping system for its animal waste lagoon, thanks to the work of an electric cooperative and a $25,000 grant from the Beneficial Electrification League.

White Rock Farms is served by Lilesville-based Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, which partnered with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives to replace the farm’s diesel pump with an electric one.

The 60-horsepower single-phase motor and pump combination will operate more efficiently, at less cost and without the exhaust. The co-ops estimate that running a diesel motor to pump the lagoon costs about $11 per hour compared to about $2 per hour for the electric motor.

“Not only will the new pump allow for cost savings, but it will also be another step towards the goal of being carbon neutral or better,” said Roddy Purser, owner of White Rock Farms, which raises hogs and chickens and runs a dairy. “We want to utilize new technologies like this so our farm can be a model for future farmers who are looking to integrate similar practices.”

Jim Musilek, director of innovation and business development at the Raleigh-based statewide and generation and transmission cooperative, calls the high-horsepower electric motor “a game changer.”

“It’s a winner for everyone involved,” said Musilek. “White Rock Farms will save on diesel fuel, have less downtime and more productivity. Local emissions will be virtually eliminated, and Pee Dee Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives will be able to demonstrate that this technology is a viable option.”

Donnie Spivey, CEO and executive vice president of PDEMC, agreed that the project shows how electric technology can serve “as an affordable and environmentally friendly solution to a need they had at their farm.”

PDEMC is one of five electric co-ops across the country to lead a project that received funds from the Beneficial Electrification League, a nonprofit organization formed by NRECA and the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2018 to advocate the advantages of going electric.

"With diesel and propane prices becoming volatile, we expect more farms and businesses will be looking for beneficial electrification opportunities to improve the reliability and affordability of their operations,” said Tony Eason, PDEMC’s vice president of engineering and operations. “We look forward to more innovative projects in our communities.”