Acting Administrator for USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative Programs Lillian Salerno tours Left Coast Cellars in Rickreall, Oregon, with the winery’s General Manager Luke McCollom (right) and USDA Rural Development Business Programs Specialist Martin Zone (center). The 62 kW roof-mounted solar installation in the background generates the majority of the electricity needed to produce 13,000 cases of estate wines per year and growing. A second array powers the estate’s irrigation system, as well as a guest cottage and front gate. Both solar arrays were installed with support through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). In 2004, McCollom was the operation’s only employee. Thanks in large part to a variety of sustainable agriculture and business practices, Left Coast Cellars today supports 25 full-time jobs and many more seasonal and part time employees.
“As President Obama mentioned in the State of the Union address investing in rural small businesses and energy efficiency programs is essential to strengthening our rural economies,” said Salerno. “USDA is working with communities across Oregon to create new ladders of opportunity.” Click here to read more…