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Release No. STELPRD4021799
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Printable Version  Printable Version
USDA ACTING UNDER SECRETARY MEETS WITH MINNESOTA AGRICULTURAL LEADERS TO DISCUSS RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY

MORGAN, Minn., Aug 06, 2013 -- Contact:

Nicole Gillespie (651) 602-7786

USDA Acting Under Secretary Meets with Minnesota Agricultural Leaders to Discuss Renewable Energy Policy

Minnesota Renewable Energy Grant Recipients Announced. O’Brien Calls for Passage of a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill

MORGAN, Minn., August 6, 2013 – USDA Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien today met with Minnesota agriculture producers, business owners and energy officials to discuss the Obama Administration’s renewable energy policy and highlight USDA’s continuing support for farmers markets, local and regional food systems. O’Brien was joined by U.S. Senator Al Franken.

“The Rural Energy for America Program helps businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy usage and become more profitable, which creates jobs,” O’Brien said. “It also enables farmers and rural small businesses to obtain new sources of revenue.”

O’Brien spoke about renewable energy’s importance to rural Minnesota communities during a visit to the 2013 IDEAg Farmfest show. Now in its third decade, Farmfest features demonstrations of the latest agriculture technology. It connects more than 35,000 manufacturers and providers with more than 600 companies and producers.

USDA has several programs and initiatives that support businesses and agricultural producers. The Department’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, for example, coordinates USDA’s work to help rural communities tap into the rapidly growing, multi-billion-dollar local foods market. USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) supports the initiative by helping agriculture producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs.

During his visit, O’Brien announced the selection of 17 rural Minnesota businesses for REAP grants to make energy efficiency improvements or adopt renewable energy systems. O’Brien said assistance for these recipients is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs such as REAP to rural businesses. Additionally, REAP and other USDA energy programs help businesses save money and help support the development of renewable and alternative fuels. Collectively, these benefits help advance America’s energy independence. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy and continue programs such as REAP, O’Brien added, saying that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Bill done as soon as possible.

The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the grant agreement. View the list of recipients at the bottom of this release.

From the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill through September 30, 2012, REAP has helped Minnesota farmers and rural businesses conduct nearly 600 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, feasibility studies and energy audits. Through REAP, these recipients have received almost $14.5 million in grants and $5.2 million in loan guarantees. Here are some recent examples:

    • In Wrenshall, Minn., Janaki Fisher-Merritt received a $17,500 REAP grant to install a 10 kW photovoltaic solar panel system for Food Farm, his certified organic vegetable farm about 30 minutes south of Duluth. The 40 panels replace 75 percent of the farm’s electrical usage for the greenhouses, seed germination chamber, cooler space and tractor.

    • To save energy and lower his utility bills, Spring Grove, Minn., grocery store owner Pat Longmire received a REAP grant to purchase and install glass doors for his coolers. The doors resulted in a savings of about $500 per month.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary 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.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.

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 $828 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.

Recipient

Grant Amount

Description

William A. Brandt

$9,966

To install a geothermal system in a new 24-x-36 produce storage facility. The project is expected to produce 34,229 kWh annually.

Colonial Cleaners

$10,510

To replace five commercial clothes dryers. The new dryers are expected to reduce energy consumption by 50%.

Country Pork, LLP

$7,960

To replace heat lamps in a farrowing barn. The new lamps are expected to reduce energy consumption by 35%.

Elite Mechanical Systems, LLC

$11,500

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 52,588 kWh annually.

Thomas Glaser

$5,167

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 31,606 kWh annually.

Bruce Gustafson

$10,000

To replace a grain dryer with a newer model. The project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 43%.

Andy John Henning

$8,701

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 31,355 kWh annually.

Hutchinson Co-Op

$7,489

To help farmers, ranchers and small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The project will install a blender pump that will dispense various grades of ethanol.

Marvin Jensen

$12,382

To help farmers, ranchers and small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The project is expected to save 61,625 kWh annually.

Mark Madsen

$9,469

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 40,967 kWh annually.

Douglas Oachs

$11,500

To help farmers, ranchers and small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The project is expected to save 61,216 kWh annually.

George Olsem

$8,279

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 43,008 kWh annually.

Rabbe Ag Enterprises

$12,664

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 72,216 kWh annually.

Dale Scholl

$11,211

To help farmers, ranchers and small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The project will replace diesel irrigation motors with energy efficient electric motors.

Son D Farms, Inc.

$7,938

To replace lighting and heating in a hog facility. The project is expected to reduce energy consumption by 35%.

Son D Farms, Inc.

$10,886

To install a geothermal system. The project is expected to produce 70,010 kWh annually.

Toth Farms, Inc.

$11,023

To help farmers, ranchers and small businesses develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

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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).

Last Modified:03/20/2014 
 
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