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Energy information for the agricultural community

Spring 2006

Beefs Bottom Line

Beef cattle production is Michigans
fourth-largest agricultural enterprise
Cattle are raised in every county
in Michigan, with Huron County (in
Michigans thumb) having the largest
percentage of the animals
Beef is the second-most consumed
meat behind chicken in the United
States, averaging 67 pounds per
person per year
In 2004, retail beef represented 56
percent of all red meats (beef, pork,
lamb and veal) consumed in the
United States
According to
a March 2005
Report, U.S.
spent more for
beef in 2004
a total of $70
billion than
any other time
in history
In 2004, average spending per person
for beef in the U.S. increased to $240
up about $40 from 2001
The Beef Checkoff Program was
established as part of the 1985 Farm
Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per
head on the sale of live domestic and
imported cattle for promotion, information and research programs
Sources: The Michigan Department of Agriculture
(, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture ( and the Michigan
Beef Industry Commission (

Understanding Electric
Motor Nameplates

DERSTANDING the information provided on an electric motor nameplate and how to use
the information is important.

the full educational paper Electrical

Tech Note 103, Understanding
Electric Motor Nameplates. You may
also choose EQ4 on the attached mailin card.

It may be necessary to replace an electric motor in the future, and nameplate

information is needed to make sure the
replacement motor is acceptable for the
application. Getting the right replacement motor will also help maintain the
integrity of your farms electrical wiring.

Many motor nameplates include frame

number, horsepower (HP), volts,
amperes (amps), revolutions per minute (RPM), hertz (HZ), phase (PH),
design, insulation class, service factor
(SF), code, efficiency, power factor,
ambient temperature (AMB) and duty.

Nameplate information is provided in

manufacturers catalogs, and selecting the right motor for an application
requires an understanding of that information.

Frame: The frame number is necessary to know when replacing a motor,

or ordering a motor for an application.
The frame number will specify the
mounting dimensions for the motor,
shaft diameter
and shaft height.

of the
Horsepower: It
is important to
match the horseDepartment
power when
at Michigan
replacing an
electric motor,
but there is
have develmore to replacoped a
ing a motor than
simply matching
educational Motor nameplate from a motor used on a grain mill.
the horsepower.
paper to aid
A motor should
in understanding electric motor namebe replaced with one of the same type.
Volts: Electric motors must be
Below are some highlights from the
matched to the voltage of the circuit.
paper written by Truman Surbrook, a
Some motors are only single voltage.
master electrician and professor, and
If so, only one voltage will be shown
Jonathan Althouse, a master electrician on the nameplate. Many general-use
and instructor.
motors are dual voltage. They can be
connected to operate at two or more
(See Nameplates, outside panel)
extension_outreach/TechNote103.pdf for voltages.

it involves learning why they become sick
and managing them as a herd, not just as an
The fact that Molly is overseeing a team of
300 at just 20 years old isnt surprising to
those who have watched her over the years.
As a high school junior, she helped the
McBain Northern Michigan Christian
Comets finish with a 23-4 record and reach
the semifinals in the 2001 Michigan High
School Athletic Association Class D girls
basketball state tournament.

Home Grown
Herd Manager Follows
Family Footsteps

T A FEW days shy of her 21st

birthday, Molly Yonkman represents the new breed of dairy
farmers in northern Michigan. Shes bright,
enthusiastic and embraces technology.

They all get a number, she said. With

almost 300 cows, you cant keep track of
all the names. We use a computer program
called PCDart that I learned at MSU. I just
type in a number and it tells me how many

Ive always worked here, Yonkman said.

I milked every night and worked a lot with
cows when I was in junior high and high
school. I wanted to learn more about cows,
so I spent a few years at Michigan State.
Now, shes in charge of taking care of the
milking herd. She handles all the artificial
insemination breeding and manages their
health care and milk production.

As far as the job goes, it can be stressful

just by the sheer amount of hours, she said.
I help out Jeff every other weekend with
milking. We milk at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m.; it
takes about five hours each time.
Molly enters milking data into the computer.

calves theyve had, their milk volume, butterfat and protein from our monthly testing,
health records, hoof records and more.
Yonkman spends a lot of her time on the
computer in the farm office next to the milk
house. With a coffee pot, deer antlers and
pictures of prize-winning cows from a few
decades back, the office still reflects dads
decorating style.
But rest assured, says Molly, there are lots
of digital pictures on the computer from
the friendships sown at MSU and her high
school church mission trips.
Attending MSU taught Yonkman that there
is much more to running a dairy business
than just milking cows.

Herd manager Molly Yonkman checks the health of an animal.

To fulfill her college internship requirement,

she opted for the Pacific northwest town of
Lynden, Wash., rather than stick close to
Yonkman said she has a good farm staff to
teach her the ropes, from her dad to fulltime feeder Scott Kuipers, young cattle
manager BJ Pluger and full-time milker Jeff

Yonkman, who completed the two-year

dairy management program at Michigan
State University last year, is the herd manager at Yonkman Dairy in McBain, a few
miles southeast of Cadillac.
The second oldest of four children, she
would like to take over the farm and 300milking cow operation when her father,
Sam, retires. She plans to recruit her younger brothers Ryan now in 11th grade and
Lucas in 8th grade.

She sang in the school choir and church

praise teams and participated in a church
mission trip to the Dominican Republic
during her high school spring break. In college, she earned an Agricultural Technology
Scholarship through The Michigan Dairy
Memorial and Scholarship Foundation, Inc.,
and also competed in the Midwest Regional
Dairy Challenge, held in Calmar, Iowa.

I didnt know there was that much to learn

about cows, said Yonkman, who also took
a Spanish-speaking dairy class. A lot of

As herd manager, it can be frustrating to

figure out a problem, but I like the challenge. Cows cant talk, so you always have
to be observing them. I look at every incident as an opportunity to learn more.

Utility Connections
Yonkman Dairy recently upgraded its facilities, adding a 300-head heifer barn last
spring. One side holds transition calves
and the other features free stalls for prebreeding and breeding-age cattle.
Bill Hendricks, a senior agricultural specialist at Consumers Energy, recently visited the farm to conduct a free evaluation
for neutral-to-earth or stray voltage. The
utility also helped hook up the new barn
and ensure there was a safe and reliable

Line Clearing and

Safe, Reliable
Electric Service
Our pledge to you
We strive to provide safe, reliable
electric service to our customers while
making a sincere effort to minimize the
risk to the health of trees and shrubs in
the communities we serve.

Trees and safe, reliable electric

It takes skilled management to ensure
that the electric power we depend on
can happily coexist with the trees that
bring us shade and beauty
or contribute to Michigans
agricultural economy.
Left unattended, trees that
grow near electric lines can
be dangerous and cause
power outages. In fact, trees
are involved in one-third of
all outages.
Our purpose is to promote
electric reliability and safety for our Michigan communities and
neighbors. Thats why its important that
we maintain an efficient electric lineclearing plan, which helps reduce the
number and duration of power outages.
Our foresters are members of the Utility
Arborists Association and the Michigan

Forestry and Parks Association, which

are chapters of the International Society
of Arboriculture.
As one of the states largest landowners,
we take care of more than 12,000 miles
of electric and natural gas lines on land
we own. In addition, we maintain easements along another 86,000 miles of
natural gas and electric lines.
Since the late 1800s, it has been our
practice to secure an easement to install,
maintain and expand overhead and underground electric lines and underground
gas pipelines on property
not owned by Consumers
Many of our lines are also
installed in road right of
way according to state laws.
While easements vary, they
run with the title of the land
and allow our facilities to
remain in place regardless of future
ownership of the land.
When required, we obtain permits from
federal, state, county and municipal
agencies before any work is done. We
also try to inform customers of our
plans to trim or remove nearby trees.
If you have received notice, either
mailed or left as a door hanger, and
have trees on your property near electric lines, it is likely the trees will be
trimmed or removed.
Our goals are achieving adequate clearance, helping the tree heal and directing
future growth away from electric lines.
If you have questions about the work
intended for your property, please call
the number on the letter or door card.

A forestry planner meets with a customer.

To help communities better understand

tree clearances around power lines,
Consumers Energy provides tree planting tips, photo examples of tree trimming, descriptions of vegetation management methods, minimum power line
clearances as well as a section on trees
and safety at www.consumersenergy.

A Guide to Consumers Energy Land

Kelly Losey, Michigan Farm Service Agency outreach coordinator, takes a company land management brochure from Steve
Wallenwine, director of agricultural services at Consumers
Energy. Losey stopped by the companys booth at the 2006
Michigan Agri-Business Winter Conference earlier this year
in Lansing. She talked with Wallenwine and Dennis Seidl, a
senior agricultural specialist, about the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program, sponsored by the United States
Department of Agriculture. The Farm Service Agency is working
with Consumers Energy and farmers to ensure there is a clear
understanding on who owns the property identified for protection and what rights go along with it. A copy of the brochure A
Guide to Consumers Energy Land is available at Type the title in the home page search field. You
may also select EQ9 on the attached publication order form.
NOTE: For information on obtaining a lease, license, permit or
easement, call Consumers Energys operations planning center at
(888) 253-4782.

Upcoming Events
MCFA Annual Meeting April 18
The Michigan Centennial Farm Association will
hold its annual meeting from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on
April 18 at the Michigan Masonic Pathways in
Alma. Reservations are due April 2. Cost is $12
and includes a meal. For more information or to
reserve a seat, e-mail
or, or write to: Michigan
Centennial Farm Association, PO Box 80151,
Lansing, MI 48908.
There are about 7,000 certified centennial farms
in Michigan, the oldest dating back to 1776.
For more information about centennial farms,
visit: and in the
search field type: Michigan Centennial Farm
Association. Once at the MCFA site, follow the
link to Centennial Farm Program.

Ag Expo 2006 July 18-20

The Consumers Energy agricultural services
team will again staff a booth at the Ag Expo at
Michigan State University in East Lansing. For
more information, visit http://www.agexpo.msu.

(Nameplates, from front page)

Amps: The amperes shown on the motor nameplate are

the full-load amperes drawn by the motor at the voltages given.
Phase: The designation PH on the nameplate indicates
whether the motor is single-phase (1) or three-phase (3).
A single-phase circuit can be obtained from a threephase power system. If the voltages match, then a single-phase motor can be operated from the three-phase
system. A three-phase motor can be operated directly
from a single-phase electrical system by using a phase
converter to produce the third phase. Generally a threephase motor operated with a variable frequency drive
can be connected to either a single-phase supply or a
three-phase supply.
Service Factor: Listed as SF on the nameplate, service
factor is an indication of the overload capacity of the
Code: The code letter can be used to figure out how
much current a motor will draw the instant it is started,
or when the motor stalls with the rotor not turning.
These conditions are called locked rotor. Locked rotor
current drawn by the motor must be considered by an
electrician when installing a motor circuit.
Enclosures: The type of motor enclosure is extremely
important when it comes to certain applications. Dust,
dirt and combustible materials that may be present in a
location must be considered when selecting a motor.

Publication Order Form

To help us serve your energy needs, please include the following:
Your six-digit customer number as listed on the mailing label:







I am planning to install new electric equipment. Please call me to help

determine the correct electric rate and adequate size of electrical facilities.

Please circle the FREE publication you would like to receive:

EQ2 Livestock Waterers: Selection and Use

W4 Farm Safely with Electricity

EQ4 Understanding Electric Motor Nameplates

W6 Electric Fencing Basics

EQ5 Four-wire Electrical Service for Farm

Buildings (MAEC)

Understanding the Basics of Electric

Fence Energizers

EQ7 Dangers of Total Separation (MAEC)

Keeping the Current Flowing on an

Electric Fence

EQ8 Is Your Farm an Energy Hog or a Lean

Machine (Hoards Dairyman)
EQ9 A Guide to Consumers Energy Land

Protecting an Energizer from Lightning

Constructing an Earth Return System

AV1 Understanding Neutral-to-earth and Stray


W9 Farming Safely & Efficiently with Electricity

AV2 Equipotential Planes

W11 Safety Tips Before You Build A Quick


AV3 Effects of Electrical Voltage/Current on

Farm Animals
W1 Agricultural Wiring Handbook
W2 Electrical Wiring for Livestock and Poultry
W3 A Guide to Electric Fencer Safety

W10 Customer Generation Connections

W13 Sizing and Selecting Your Standby

W14 Safe and Effective Electric Fences
W15 Standby Power

Agricultural Services Staff


JACKSON, MI 49201-9939







Agricultural Services team, back row (from left): Craig Schray,

Dennis Seidl, Fae Easton, Bill Hendricks and Dave Southward. Front
row (from left): Steve Wallenwine, Mark Wikman, Bruce Lalathin and
Duane Johansen.

Rural Michigan has changed dramatically in the nearly

80 years since Consumers Energy energized its first
rural electric line a seven-mile stretch between Mason
and Dansville.
We were the first utility in the nation to bring electricity
to 100,000 farms in 1949. Today, we serve more than
30,000 farm customers the most of any Michigan
Our farming community represents one of Michigans
largest economic contributors and ranks among the
nations leaders in cherries, beans, celery, apples,
cucumbers, maple syrup and milk, said Steve
Wallenwine, director of agricultural services.
Consumers Energy electricity helps keep animal waterers from freezing, milking parlors operating, incubators
warm, lighting illuminated, irrigation flowing, and grain
dryers and feeders running, among other farm activities.
Besides bringing reliable electricity, the company continues to support farmers by promoting electrical safety
and participating in the Michigan Centennial Farm
Association (MCFA) among other efforts.
Just like our company, which has been operating in
Michigan for more than 100 years, our farmers take
great pride in their land and service to Michigan,
Wallenwine said.

Call Us for Help

As your farm operation changes and grows, so will your
electrical needs. By planning and anticipating power demands,
you can ensure your electrical system wont be overloaded.
New construction or renovations also give you an opportunity
to install safe and efficient energy measures.
If you are in the planning, remodeling or expansion stage, call
the Agricultural Services department for recommendations at
(800) 252-8658.
And if you wish to upgrade, request new electric service or are
already under construction, call (800) 477-5050.

Free Checkup Protects

If you have a concern about stray voltage, call Consumers
Energy at (800) 252-8658.
Well conduct a free evaluation of your farm and provide an
illustrated booklet that describes animal contact voltage sources,
detection and maintenance steps to help prevent them from
affecting your livestock.
Visit us on the Internet:

Agricultural Services Department, PE-A100

Consumers Energy
One Energy Plaza
Jackson, MI 49201

Serving Michigan Farms