Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 244 projects nationwide that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs, and use renewable energy technologies in their operations. Funding is made available through USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
"As part of President Obama's "all of the above" energy strategy, USDA has partnered with thousands of America's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to help them save energy and improve their bottom line," said Vilsack. "This effort is helping to provide stable energy costs that create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America."
For example, in Coos County, New Hampshire, Balsams View, LLC has been selected to receive a grant to replace an outdated heating system with a state of the art, high-efficiency, wood fired biomass boiler system. The new energy-efficient system is expected to use 77 percent less wood.
In Augusta, Wisconsin, farmer Matthew Gabler has been selected to receive a grant to install a new 11 kilowatt wind turbine producing approximately 29,000 kilowatt-hours a year for his farm.
In Washington State, Edaleen Cow Power LLC, located near Lynden, Whatcom County, has been selected to receive a Rural Energy for America Program Loan and Grant Combination of $2,638,000 to install an anaerobic digester and sell the resulting electricity to a utility. The project is anticipated to generate 4,635 Megawatt hours per year. Edaleen Dairy's 2,450-head herd will be the sole manure source for the project and the dairy will benefit by from the bedding byproduct the digester produces.
REAP offers financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. These federal funds leverage other funding sources for businesses. In all, USDA announced over $16 million in energy investments today.
Today's announcement is an example of investments the Obama Administration is making to help create jobs and grow the rural economy. For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program grant and loan recipients announced today, please click here.
For additional information on Rural Development projects, please visit Rural Development's new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011. The data can be found at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RDSuccessStories.html.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way -- strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.