Topeka, KS, Dec 15, 2011 --
1303 SW First American Place, Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66604-4040
Voice (785) 271-2701, FAX (785) 271-2708
USDA Rural Development
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Energy Efficiency and
Flexible Fuel Pump Grants in Kansas
Topeka, Kan., December 15, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced loans and grants for agricultural producers and rural small businesses across the country to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in their operations. The funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“Stable energy costs create an environment for job growth in rural America,” Vilsack said. “The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping preserve our natural resources, protect the environment and strengthen the bottom line for businesses, ranchers and farm operations.”
Collectively, these REAP-funded projects announced today, and those announced earlier by USDA are expected to lower energy usage by 2 billion kilowatts and prevent nearly 2 million metric tons of emissions from being released into the environment. Today’s announcement concludes the REAP awards cycle for 2011. REAP, authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill, provides loans and grants for farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. These federal dollars are leveraged with other funding sources for the projects.
USDA Rural Development provided through the REAP program a total of $23.2 million for energy efficiency projects, $20.9 million for biodigesters, $20.3 million for solar energy projects, $8.2 million for hydroelectric systems, $7 million for biomass energy projects, $4.28 million for flexible fuel pump projects, $3.9 million for wind energy projects, $1.4 million for geothermal installations in fiscal year 2011.
“In Kansas, $800,000 was invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the state through the REAP program,” stated USDA Rural Development State Director Patty Clark. “Through the REAP energy efficiency projects, USDA helps producers and small businesses control costs and improve profitability. Kansans have been able to develop renewable energy opportunities in rural communities with assistance from the REAP program, and I hope this federal support can be continued in the future.”
Improving Energy Efficiency
With today’s announcement, USDA Rural Development is funding more than 280 projects to help reduce energy costs. In all, the department funded more than 1,100 energy efficiency projects in fiscal year 2011, including improvements in aquaculture, poultry lighting and ventilation, irrigation system upgrades, maple syrup production efficiency, small business heating and cooling, rural grocery cooler replacement and others.
Kansas energy efficiency projects funded today include four farming operations that received funds to convert their irrigation units to more energy efficient units.
The project is located in Finney County and will convert two natural gas irrigation engines to electric irrigation motors with variable frequency drives.
Premier 4 Farms
The project is located in Haskell County and will convert four diesel irrigation engines to electric motors with variable frequency drives.
The project is located in Stevens County and will convert three diesel irrigation engines to electric irrigation motors with variable frequency drive.
D. Barry Schmitt Rev. Trust
The project is located in Barton County and will replace two existing electric irrigation motors with two smaller electric motors with variable frequency drive.
“Converting a natural gas irrigation engine to an electric engine is a very expensive conversion, and the REAP grant helped to make the switch to an energy-efficient system more economical,” stated Scott Becker. “The engineers at Kansas State University estimated that we would have an annual energy savings of approximately 90 percent by switching to an electric irrigation engine.”
Flexible Fuel Pumps
USDA is providing support for 12 flexible fuel pump projects in eight states as part of today’s announcement, bringing the number of flex-fuel projects funded to 65 in fiscal year 2011, with 266 new pumps being installed in 30 states. Installing flexible fuel pumps encourages the use of biofuels and supports our nation’s growing clean-energy economy. Flexible fuel pumps are specifically designed to 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.
In Kansas, CC of Hays Inc., received a $35,925 grant to install a flexible fuel pump, underground biofuel storage tank and fuel lines at the Golden Ox Truck Stop in Hays.
Funding of each REAP 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 renewable energy, $250,000 for energy efficiency.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses, entrepreneurs and people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.
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 existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in 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.
For additional information regarding this and other USDA Rural Development programs visit the Agency’s website http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/KS, or call the Agency’s state office at 785-271-2700.
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).