News Release
Release No.STELPRD4010319
ContactAlec Lloyd(517)324-5204
EAST LANSING, Mich, May 25, 2011 --

@@U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development Business and Cooperatives Programs Administrator Judith Canales will be in Michigan today for three events to highlight USDA Rural Development’s role in improving Michigan’s economy.

Canales will be a speaker at the Michigan Business Incubator Association’s conference “Michigan’s Changing Economy:  The Role of Business Incubation and New Venture Creation” at the Marriott at University Place; 300 M.A.C. Ave. in East Lansing.

Michael Petersen, owner of Petersen Oil, will then host Canales at 12:30 p.m. at his 6360 S. Greenville Road facility, in Greenville, to highlight USDA support for flexible fuel pumps, also known as “blender pumps.”  USDA has $1.2 million in grants and $1.6 million in guaranteed loans available to help Michigan fuel station owners install flexible fuel pumps.  The application deadline is June 15.  This event is open to the media.

In addition to flexible fuel pumps being eligible for funding under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), funds are available to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

• Grants are available for audits of energy improvements and studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems; and

• Agricultural producers in non-rural areas are eligible for REAP assistance. Small businesses must still be located in rural areas. This clarification makes REAP eligibility requirements consistent with those of other USDA energy programs.

Canales will conclude her Michigan visit at Port City Group, 711 East Porter Road, in Muskegon, at 3:30 p.m., where she will explain the role of guaranteed business loans in restoring Michigan’s economy.  This event is open to the media.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $149 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit for additional information about the agency’s programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).