|(8/17/11) AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR OVER 900 PROJECTS TO BOOST RENEWABLE ENERGY|
|ATKINSON, ILL, Aug 17, 2011
Local Contact: Dawn Knepp
National Contact: Office of Communications
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Over 900 Projects to Boost Renewable Energy Production, Reduce Energy Costs for Producers and Small Businesses
ATKINSON, Ill., August 17, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced grants for more than 900 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across the country to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in their operations. Secretary Vilsack made the announcement as part of President Obama’s rural economic bus tour in the Midwest where today he highlighted efforts underway to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil, which will increase the economic competitiveness of rural America and promote job creation.
"These investments enable our farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners to develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements that will save them thousands of dollars in energy costs each year," Vilsack said. "This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration's plan to conserve natural resources, create jobs and lead our country on the path to becoming more energy independent."
The grants are being provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a 2008 Farm Bill initiative. REAP offers funds for 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 small businesses. In all, USDA announced more than $11.6 million in energy grants nationwide and $558,562 in Pennsylvania.
The REAP program is helping many agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption. A total of 37 applicants in Pennsylvania benefited from this round of REAP funding. For example, in Cambridge Spring, Crawford County, Northwestern Rural Electric Co-Operative Association, Inc. received an $11,562 REAP grant to install 175 LED outdoor lighting replacement lamps at its corporate site and the Woodcock Dam Flood Control camp site and nature center. Vynecrest Vineyards Winery in Breinigsville, Lehigh County, received a $20,000 REAP grant to install a new geothermal system to provide heating, cooling and hot water for all vineyard buildings.
Funding of each Pennsylvania award listed below is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. Grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency.
PA REAP Grant Recipient City County Amount Project
Today’s announcement is an example of investments the Obama Administration is making to help create jobs and grow the rural economy. In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.
Yesterday, President Obama hosted the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. The Forum brought together farmers, small business owners, private sector leaders, rural organizations, and government officials to discuss ideas and initiatives to promote economic growth, accelerate hiring, and spur innovation in rural communities nationwide. The President engaged directly with a variety of rural leaders from across the nation to discuss the importance of growing small businesses and strengthening the middle class in rural America.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of approximately 110 employees located in 11 offices throughout Pennsylvania. 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. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Pennsylvania State Office at (717) 237-2299 or visit its website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/pa.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).