|(10/26/11) AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR BIODIGESTER PROJECTS|
|Four Digester Projects Announced in Pennsylvania|
|Washington DC, Oct 26, 2011
Dawn Knepp (717) 237-2286
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding for Biodigester Projects to Produce Energy, Reduce Pollution in Seven States
WASHINGTON, October 26, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is funding anaerobic digester projects in seven states to encourage renewable energy production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and farm-based pollution. The announcement was made on the Secretary’s behalf by Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager during a trip to Wisconsin. One of the biodigesters to be funded will be deployed on a farm near the Wisconsin community of Alma Center.
“Through the efforts of the Obama Administration, the Rural Energy for America Program has helped rural small businesses, farmers and ranchers across the nation,” Vilsack said. “This program creates jobs, increases energy efficiency and reduces carbon emissions. It also provides producers with new opportunities to create revenue and compete globally.”
Funding for the biodigesters is provided through the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Vilsack said that, since its creation in the 2002 Farm Bill through Fiscal Year 2010, REAP has created or saved an estimated 13.4 billion kWh of electricity, reduced almost 14.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, assisted almost 9,600 businesses, farmers and ranchers, and created or saved an estimated 15,000 jobs.
REAP anaerobic digester funds announced today included grants and loans to the following Pennsylvania farms:
*Announced previously by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on 9/16/11
The four digester projects listed above represent 21% of all anaerobic digester projects in the United States in Fiscal Year 2011. A total of 14 anaerobic digester projects have been funded in Pennsylvania with nine in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. An anaerobic digester project takes eight to 10 months to complete, utilizes many local jobs such as engineers, excavators, electricians, plumbers, masons, concrete contractors and
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.
Today’s announcement is in concert with an agreement signed by Secretary Vilsack in December, 2009. During climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Secretary signed a historic agreement to help U.S. dairy producers cut greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement between USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy calls for the parties to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms by 25 percent by 2020.
In Fiscal Year 2011, USDA, through the REAP program, provided over $20 million in assistance for biodigesters, and leveraged $110 million in other funds. Through its Value-Added Producer Grant program, USDA provides planning grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to be used for establishment of a biodigester. Additionally, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives (EQIP) program.
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.
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. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. 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.
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).