ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec 14, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that 69 farmers and rural small businesses in Minnesota have been selected to receive over $1.6 million in grants to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in their operations. The funding comes from Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“Reducing energy costs and consumption creates jobs, strengthens the agricultural sector and boosts rural businesses,” Landkamer said. “These types of investments preserve our natural resources and strengthen the bottom line for small rural business owners, ranchers and farmers.”
Minnesota farmers and rural small businesses have received about $2.7 million through the REAP program in 2011. Since its creation in the 2008 Farm Bill, the REAP program has helped about 350 Minnesota farmers and rural small business install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.
Included in today’s announcement is a $68,205 grant to help Farmers Cooperative Oil install eight flexible fuel pumps at locations in Renville and Redwood Falls. Flexible fuel pumps dispense ethanol-gasoline blends that contain up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. In addition, they may also dispense mid-level blends, such as E15 and E30. The installation of flexible fuel pumps encourages the use of biofuels and supports our nation’s growing clean-energy economy.
Other projects announced today include grain dryers, geothermal systems and energy efficiency improvements. More than 280 projects were announced nationwide. Click here for a complete lists of projects.
To learn more about the REAP program, visit Rural Development’s energy page. USDA Rural Development also invests in rural housing, infrastructure, business development and high-speed Internet.