THE MILL TOM MEERSMAN

Switching to LED lights has dual benefits for turkey farmers

Minnesota turkey growers, in a pilot study, saved big-time dollars by switching from traditional to LED lighting in their turkey barns.

The program, called "Gobbling Up Savings," helped a dozen farmers replace incandescent or high pressure sodium lighting systems in 25 barns. The growers with their new LED lights saved an average of $2,327 per barn per year in electric costs, ­according to a recent report.

Installing the system is expensive, but the retrofits are expected to have a payback period of three years or less. Participating farmers said the LED lights led to calmer birds and no decrease in poultry production.

The pilot study is done, but the program continues by providing resources to help turkey growers learn more about LED lighting, guide them through available funding sources and connect them with potential utility rebates.

It is sponsored by Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), a partnership of groups including the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. CERTs also provides other energy efficiency and renewable energy assistance to farms and businesses. For more information, go to mncerts.org/turkeys.

POINT OF SALE JOHN EWOLDT

Using Uber for last-minute local shopping

It was the ultimate blend of last-minute holiday shopping, technology and trend. Minneapolis-based men's specialty retailer Askov Finlayson teamed with Uber to deliver its popular North hats free and gift-wrapped.

On the Wednesday before Christmas, customers could request the service through the Uber app. When Uber arrived, the customer could look at the color selection, try one on and select one or more caps that were already gift-wrapped. Payment also was made through the Uber app.

"We reached out to a friend who works for Uber in the Chicago office to figure out a partnership," said Eric Dayton, who owns Askov Finlayson with his brother, Andrew. The Dayton brothers, sons of Gov. Mark Dayton, make a donation to Climate Generation to combat climate change through education for each North product sold. The collection also includes baseball hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and pennants.

Only the stocking caps were part of the Uber ­partnership.

The acrylic knit stocking caps with the word "North" on the front have been a strong seller after getting national attention. The hats, $27 and $29, sold out in 2013 and 2014. More than 5,000 have been purchased.

The "North" movement is woven into the buy local trend. The hats are made in Cloquet, Minn., by a company that makes hats for youth hockey players.