News Release
Release No.STELPRD4014077
ContactKelly Clark775-887-1222 x130
FUNDS CAN BE USED TO INSTALL RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS AND MAKE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS
Statewide, NV., Apr 01, 2010 --

@@USDA Invites Rural Small Businesses and Agricultural Producers to Apply for the Rural Energy for America Program

Funds Can Be Used to Install Renewable Energy Systems and Make Energy Efficiency Improvements

WASHINGTON, April, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications from farmers, agricultural producers and owners of rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

“This funding will help owners of small rural businesses, farmers, and ranchers reduce energy consumption and conserve natural resources -- part of President Obama’s effort to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and the destabilizing effects of a changing climate,” Vilsack said. “Through this program, farmers and agricultural producers will be able to upgrade or replace outdated, inefficient systems in their operations. That not only saves money, it supports job creation.”

Sarah Adler, State Director of USDA Rural Development for Nevada, revealed that Nevada is allocated $338,850 in grant funds and over $1.5 million in loan guarantee authority; more funding can be sought by submitting applications to the national office reserve. “The REAP program has already successfully funded wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects for both agricultural producers and small businesses in Nevada,” said Adler, “and we have recently hired an Energy Coordinator in order to further assist in bringing these green dollars into our state. Whether the business or farm plans to make energy efficient improvements or generate its own power, either way it improves the bottom line and reduces consumption of fossil fuels – a win-win for business and the environment.”

Applications are due June 23, 2010 to the Nevada State Office; however, if the applicant wants to get an assessment from the staff on completeness, strengths and weaknesses, it should be submitted by May 26, to Mark Williams, Energy Coordinator. Applications for $20,000 or less are easier to fund, and are strongly encourage by the May 26 date.

More information on how to apply for funding is available in the April 26, 2010 Federal Register and by contacting Williams at 775/887-1222x116 or mark.williams@nv.usda.gov.

Comstock Seed of Douglas County is a Nevada success story that has used REAP funds to reduce energy costs. Owned by Ed and Linda Kleiner, Comstock Seed uses a solar array to generate all the power it needs to run its native seed farm. The Kleiners proudly display an $8.00 monthly bill from NV Energy, which represents the only cost they pay, a mandatory administrative fee. Formerly, an average month’s power bill would have been $165. NV Energy is also a partner in the project through its Renewable Generations rebate program. Comstock Seed received a $20,000 REAP grant, and funded the balance of the cost through a loan from Wells Fargo Bank, which was also guaranteed by USDA Rural Development.

Eligible projects include installing renewable energy systems such as wind turbines, solar, geothermal, biomass, anaerobic digesters, hydroelectric, and ocean, or hydrogen systems. Funding may also be used to purchase energy-efficient equipment, adding insulation, and improve heating and cooling systems. In fiscal year 2009, this program helped fund 1,485 REAP projects in 50 states, the territory of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific Islands.

Under REAP, grants are also available to intermediaries to help owners of rural businesses and farms conduct energy audits. Eligible applicants include a unit of State, tribal, or local government; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; or a public power entity. The program is designed to provide energy audit assistance to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses; the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing similar service as well.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation’s capital and 500 national, state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $134 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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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).