ST. PAUL, Minn., Mar 29, 2013 -- Rural Development
375 Jackson Street | Suite 410
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55101
Release No.: 00001
Ron Omann, (651) 602-7796
USDA Invites Applications for Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Projects
SAINT PAUL, Minn., April 2, 2013 – USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer announced today that USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“Rural Development continues its commitment to help rural communities throughout Minnesota become more energy independent by partnering with agricultural producers and rural small businesses as they build renewable energy systems and reduce energy usage," Landkamer said. "These investments will not only help our farmers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs, but also provide a new potential revenue source and stabilize their operations’ bottom lines."
REAP, authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (Farm Bill) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation's critical energy needs. USDA is accepting the following applications:
• Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until April 30, 2013;
• Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications until July 15, 2013;
• Renewable energy system feasibility study grant applications through April 30, 2013.
More information on how to apply for funding is available in the March 29, 2013 Federal Register, pages 2013-07275 or at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/MN-RBS-Energy.html.
Since the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill and through the end of Fiscal Year 2012, REAP has funded over 582 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, feasibility studies, energy audits, and renewable energy development assistance projects in Minnesota. For these projects, REAP has provided almost $14.5 million in grants and $5.2 million in loan guarantees, leveraging approximately $39 million in rural communities throughout Minnesota.
Examples of recent projects include, Janaki Fisher-Merritt of the Food Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm located in Wrenshall, MN about 30 minutes south of Duluth., which received a REAP grant of $17,500 to install a 10kw photovoltaic solar panel system. The 40 panels are being used to replace 75% of the farms electrical usage from the greenhouses, seed germination chamber, cooler space and even their tractor. To save energy and lower his utility bills, Spring Grove, Minn. grocery store owner, Pat Longmire, used a REAP grant to purchase and install glass doors on all of his coolers. The doors resulted in a savings of about $500 per month in heating, cooling, and electricity bills.
The Obama Administration is working to promote domestic production of renewable energy to create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, combat global warming, and build a stronger rural economy. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
In addition to investing in agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, the agency has invested over $3.5 billion since 2009 to improve rural housing, infrastructure, high-speed Internet, healthcare facilities and other economic development projects. To learn more about Rural Development, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn, or your local office by visiting http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/MN-Contacts.html and call an Area Specialist.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)