Temple, Texas, Jan 25, 2012 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA 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 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
“Renewable energy development presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” said Vilsack. “This funding will assist rural farmers, ranchers and business owners to build renewable energy projects, providing opportunities for new technologies, create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient.”
“We’re pleased to offer this funding availability to those who are interested in identifying and implementing projects that will conserve energy,” said Paco Valentin, Texas State Director of USDA Rural Development. “Projects funded through Rural Development’s REAP program reduce our dependence on foreign resources and help America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses become more energy efficient.”
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs. For 2012, USDA has approximately $25.4 million budget authority available to fund REAP activities, which will support at least $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loan program level awards. 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;
§ 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.
More information on how to apply for funding is available in the January 20, 2012 Federal Register, pages 2948 through 2954, or by viewing http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-20/pdf/2012-755.pdf
This funding is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies to create opportunities for growth and prosperity, support innovative technologies, identify new markets for agricultural producers, and better utilize our nation's natural resources. Projects producing any form of energy; including heat, electricity or fuel may qualify for REAP funding. In addition, funding is available for energy efficiency improvements and studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.
In 2011, 66 projects totaling over $1.8 million, were funded throughout Texas under the REAP program. This funding was used for projects ranging from installation of solar and wind renewable energy systems, construction of new irrigation systems, upgrades to air conditioning and refrigeration units, and retrofitting poultry houses with more energy efficient equipment.
For more information on the program and to apply for funding, details are available on the USDA Rural Development website, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Reap.html. Applications are submitted to the USDA Renewable Energy Coordinator, Billy Curb, at email@example.com or 254-742-9775.