Denver, Colorado, Nov 09, 2011 -- DENVER, CO Nov. 09, 2011 –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is funding projects to harness wind and solar, geothermal and hydro power to reduce the energy costs for farms and small business across rural America. The announcement was made on the Secretary’s behalf by Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien made the announcement during a trip to Ames, Iowa to address the Rural Young Entrepreneur Summit (YES).
“The Obama Administration is assisting small businesses, including farmers and ranchers, as they work to reduce their energy costs,” said O’Brien. “When energy costs are reduced, American rural businesses become more competitive, allowing them to expand and create jobs.”
One of the projects announced today will assist Avalanche Ranch in Redstone, Colorado with the installation of a large scale Geothermal heat pump and distribution system to aid in heating the Vacation Cabins and therapeutic spas. “ USDA funding is contingent on the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement. REAP grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project's cost, up to $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements.
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 and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and for 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 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.