Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applicants for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), providing opportunities for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to develop renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The program encourages rural businesses across Michigan to implement measures that reduce energy use while also reducing small businesses' operation costs and paying for themselves over time.
"These rural energy programs help to strengthen small businesses and rural communities across Michigan to develop and implement long-term, cost-cutting energy programs that free up capital needed to create jobs," Chairwoman Stabenow said. "By implementing energy efficiency measures or developing renewable energy systems, our rural business leaders and agricultural producers are harnessing the power of innovation and homegrown energy to fuel and grow their businesses. As Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I'm focused on encouraging small business growth and giving our rural business leaders the tools they need to expand, profit and create more jobs."
Rural producers and business owners across Michigan have already tapped REAP to make their businesses more energy efficient and profitable by cutting back on energy costs. Small business owner James Reid in St. Clair County has tapped Michigan Solar Solutions to install 19.6 kw of solar generating capacity to power his dairy barn. His investment will pay for itself in three years, and continue providing long-term, low-cost energy to propel his business forward.
The deadline for applications is June 15, 2011. Additional information regarding the application process and eligibility requirements can be accessed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website by visiting http://www.usda.gov. To learn about other energy programs to benefit farmers and rural businesses, visit the USDA's Energy Matrix at http://www.energymatrix.usda.gov. Interested applicants should contact their local USDA Rural Development office, which can be found here http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mi/Contact%20Us.htm.