ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan 20, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
The REAP program is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and meet the nation’s critical energy needs. For 2012, USDA has approximately $25.4 million in budget authority available to fund REAP activities, which will support at least $12.5 million in grants and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loans.
USDA is accepting the following applications:
§ Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until March 30, 2012. Examples of projects include wind turbines, geothermal systems, grain dryers, refrigeration, solar, flexible fuel pumps, insulation and siding, irrigation and lighting.
§ Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications on a continuous basis up to June 29, 2012;
§ Renewable energy system feasibility study applications through March 30, 2012; and
§ Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications through February 21, 2012.
In 2011, 122 farmers and rural small businesses in Minnesota received almost $3 million in REAP grantsloans and grants. The investments saved over 33 million kilowatt hours of energy and potentially generated over 1.7 million kWh from renewable energy sources.
More information on how to apply is available in the January 20, 2012 Federal Register, pages 2948 through 2954, and at Rural Development of Minnesota’s energy website. Potential applicants can also contact a specialist at a Rural Development office in their area for more information.
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).