|AGRICULTURE SECRETARY ANNOUNCES PROJECTS IN 42 STATES AND TWO TERRITORIES DESIGNED TO IMPROVE FARM AND RURAL BUSINESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY|
|Secretary Says Future Support Depends on Congressional Action on a New Food, Farm and Jobs Bill|
|Washington, Aug 15, 2013
@@Contact: Weldon Freeman (202) 690-1384
Agriculture Secretary Announces Projects in 42 States and Two Territories Designed to Improve Farm and Rural Business Energy Efficiency
Secretary Says Future Support Depends on Congressional Action on a New Food, Farm and Jobs Bill
Washington, Aug. 15, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 631 projects across the nation that will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Grant and loan funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
With today’s announcement, USDA is making investments of more than $21 million in energy projects nationwide. Despite budget uncertainties, USDA remains focused on strengthening the rural economy.
“As part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, USDA continues to work with America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to help them save energy and improve their bottom line,” Vilsack said. “This program and others like it would not be available without a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, and again I urge members of Congress to pass a bill when they return to Washington next month.”
Vilsack made the announcement while touring a bioenergy facility in North Carolina. REAP helps producers reduce energy costs and increase production efficiency. Wisconsin received funding for 18 projects throughout the state. For example:
· Litwiller Maple Syrup, out of Almena, Wis., will use a $4,018 grant to install a reverse-osmosis system.
· Stoney Acres Farm, LLC, a third-generation organic farm in Athens, Wis., was awarded a $17,611 grant towards the installation of a photovoltaic system.
· Kopps Ono Acres, Inc., from Maiden Rock, Wis., was selected to receive an $11,540 grant to replace a grain dryer.
Farmers, ranchers, business owners and agriculture producers in 41 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will also receive funding. For example, Iron Mountain Nursery in Stagecoach, Nev., will use a $12,476 grant to install a 7 kW solar photovoltaic system to provide power for its farm and nursery. This project is expected to generate 13,000 kW of energy annually.
Under the terms of REAP, up to 25 percent of an eligible energy production or conservation project can be funded through a grant, and additional support can be provided in the form of a loan. Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has helped fund nearly 7,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide.
REAP offers financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. These federal funds leverage other private funding sources for businesses. REAP also helps the conservation of natural resources and the development of new forms of energy that reduces America’s dependence on fossil fuels and creates a stronger rural economy.
View the list of recipients for Rural Energy for America Program grants and loans.
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 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.
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).