ST. PAUL, Minn., Sep 16, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that 16 farmers and rural small businesses in Minnesota have been selected to receive over $600,000 in grants and loans to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The funds come from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“This funding leads our country further down the path of energy independence,” Landkamer said. “Projects like this conserve valuable natural resources and cut energy costs for our farmers and small business owners. USDA has invested about $1 million in 41 REAP projects throughout Minnesota in the last month.”
Over 500 projects totaling more than $27 million were announced nationally on Friday. A complete list of projects can be viewed here.
Since its creation in the 2008 Farm Bill, the REAP program has helped over 315 Minnesota farmers and small businesses cut energy costs by installing renewable energy systems or making energy efficiency improvements. Examples of projects include small wind turbines, grain dyers, solar panels, heating and cooling systems, lighting, insulation, refrigeration and siding.
Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement. Grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency. Loan guarantees are issued through traditional lending institutions such as banks.
USDA Rural Development has over 40 programs to improve housing, infrastructure, community facilities, businesses and job creation in rural areas. Rural Development has invested about $3 billion throughout Minnesota since 2009.
To learn more about Rural Development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn. To learn more about the REAP program, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn/RBS/Section%209006%20Renewable%20Energy%20Program.htm.