Georgia (Statewide), Aug 08, 2011 -- The following counties received funding: Appling, Atkinson, Baker, Banks, Bartow, Ben Hill, Bleckley, Carroll, Coffee, Decatur, Dodge, Floyd, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Hart, Heard, Irwin, Lowndes, Madison, Mitchell, Monroe, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Polk, Pulaski, Rabun, Telfair, Terrell, Tift, Twiggs, Union, Walton, Ware, Washington, and Wilcox.
ATHENS,– Ninety-two Georgia agricultural producers and rural small businesses were selected to receive over $1 million in grants for renewable energy or energy efficiency projects through USDA Rural Development.
“These projects help farmers and small businesses become more competitive by improving the bottom line,” said Donnie Thomas, acting state director for USDA Rural Development. "That savings can be used in other ways to foster economic activity. All of these projects also are good for the environment, so it is a win-win."
Thirty-eight Georgia counties had recipients ranging from a low of $1,995 for poultry house insulation in Rabun County to $227,500 for a solar and wind project in Monroe County. Dodge County had the most with 21 projects.
“This program allows us to fund energy efficiency projects like converting diesel to electric irrigation motors, upgrading poultry houses or replacing inefficient equipment in a business,” said Craig Scroggs, renewable energy coordinator in Monroe. “We can also fund renewable energy projects including solar, wind, biomass, fuels, and other forms of renewable energy.”
Funds are through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program provides loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits. The maximum grant for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects is 25 percent of eligible project costs. The programs have different maximum dollar limitations.
More information on the REAP program, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapResEei.html. Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.
Georgia farmers and rural small businesses have been awarded over $13 million in loans and grants since the Rural Energy for America Program was created in 2003.
Georgia program coordinators can be reached for more information as follows: Craig Scroggs at 404-229-5720 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Al Burns at 229-220-5067 or email@example.com.