Demand Response Helps Poultry Farm

Savings Hatch Farm Improvements


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 supplies eggs to many different local and national grocery store chains such as Meijer and Costco.


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. All with an eye toward a sustainable energy future. 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, was signing up for 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.


Consumers Energy has helped businesses save more than $4 billion through its energy efficiency programs. The farm is also receiving 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 for 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

21 dozen - amount of eggs on average American consumes

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

227,000,000 million dozen eggs per year from all Michigan Layers—enough eggs for each Michigan resident to consume 23 dozen per year