Washington, D.C., Oct 26, 2011 -- Contact:
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.
One of the biodigesters announced today will be placed on Heller Farms near Alma Center in Jackson County, Wis. It is expected to produce 3.3 million kW hours of renewable energy each year, and is funded in part with a $1.3 million guaranteed loan and a $500,000 grant. Digesters will also be placed in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Iowa, Oregon, Ohio, and Vermont.
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.
REAP anaerobic digester funds announced today included grants and loans to the following:
AgPower Jerome, LLC Lincoln Co., Idaho $500,000 grant
New Energy Two, LLC Middleton, Idaho $500,000 grant
New Energy Three LLC Middleton, Idaho $500,000 grant
Sioux Pharm Inc. Sioux Center, Iowa $263,250 loan, $263,250 grant
Mill Creek Digester, LLC West Unity, Ohio $600,000 loan, $499,924 grant
Belmont County Bioenergy, LLC Independence, Ohio $750,000 loan, $500,000 grant
Lime Lakes Energy, LLC Independence, Ohio $1.5 million loan, $500,000 grant
Wooster Renewable Energy, LLC, Independence, Ohio $750,000 loan, $500,000 grant
Ringler Energy, LLC Cardington, Ohio $3,238,750 loan, $500,000 grant
Farm Power Misty Meadow, LLC Tillamook, Ore. $1 million loan, $500,000 grant
Farm Power Tillamook, LLC Tillamook, Ore. $2.65 million loan, $100,000 grant
Hard Earned Acres, Inc. Shippensburg, Penn. $331,709 grant
Reinford-Frymoyer Farm, LLC Mifflintown, Penn. $337,224 grant
Arlen Benner Mount Joy, Penn. $500,000 grant
Riverview Farm Franklin, VT $429,703 loan, $214,851 grant
Heller Farms (Cow Poo, LLC) Alma Center, Wis. $1,321,187 loan, $500,000 grant
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.
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).