Sep 28, 2017
At Rogue Creamery, we strive to be more than artisan cheese producers; we also want to be good stewards of the land and productive members of the community, giving back to those we serve. We’re dedicated to sustainability, service, and the art and tradition of making the world’s finest handmade cheese.
We’re proud of our work; we were the first U.S. creamery to ever win “World's Best Blue Cheese” at the World Cheese Awards in London. Our award-winning cheeses can be found all around the world. But we think perhaps one of our greatest wins happened right here at home in the Rogue Valley when we decided to set a goal of transforming our creamery into a zero impact business. In 2002, we established the goal to become 100 percent energy efficient and operate a zero impact company by 2021. We’re just over halfway there, but we’ve already seen the many benefits that going green can bring.
Being a small creamery makes us even more aware of the relationship between our product and the land. We rely on a healthy environment to help our business to grow and succeed, which is why we want to be stewards of the earth. The Rogue Valley has already been hit hard by climate impacts, from historic drought, to increased wildfires. Those of us working in agriculture experience these impacts often first and worst. Excellent cheeses can only be produced if we have healthy cows and a healthy environment. So when we made the decision to invest in clean energy, we knew we were making an investment in a healthy future for our business and the communities we serve.
We started with one solar project in 2009, installing 253 panels on the roof of our cheese facility. We now generate more than 50 percent of our energy from these panels alone. Having solar in place keeps costs down, and those cost savings are passed down to our customers. As the prices of goods increase, our customers see more stable product prices because clean energy helps keep overhead costs low. Having a way to offset price increases gives us a huge advantage. Once we saw the success of our first solar array, we saw the potential for other places where our creamery could utilize clean energy. We now operate three fully functional solar farms projects, the second containing 53 panels and the third 100. We now generate more than 50 percent of our energy from our solar initiatives.
Next, we plan to upgrade our dairy equipment and power it with solar. A new robotic milker will help us save costs and increase the efficiency of our milking production. A solar-powered solid separator will allow us to significantly decrease our energy costs at the dairy. The Clean Energy Jobs bill will make it easier for businesses like ours to make energy efficiency upgrades that will control costs and benefit customers. We want all Rogue Valley farms and businesses to experience the benefits we have. Whether it be installing solar panels, a wind turbine on the farm, switching to drip irrigation, or buying energy efficient farm equipment, Clean Energy Jobs can help the Rogue River Valley continue its legacy of socially responsible environmental stewardship in Southern Oregon.