Temple, Texas, Aug 20, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has 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 this 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.
“Rural Development is pleased to offer funding through the REAP program to 17 Texas recipients,” said Rural Development State Director, Paco Valentin. “By reducing energy costs, these businesses become more competitive, allowing them to expand, create jobs and serve a larger rural population.”
Seventeen recipients throughout Texas will utilize over $750,000 of awarded funding to make energy efficient upgrades and improvements through a variety of ways. From energy efficient improvements to poultry houses, to installation of photovoltaic solar systems and energy efficient lighting, to the replacement of existing engines with electric motors, businesses throughout Texas will use their grants to modernize their facilities with energy saving devices and equipment.
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.
For a complete list of recipients and further details on each project, please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/REAP_list20130815.pdf. For more information on the REAP program, or any other Rural Development program offered throughout Texas, including local office contact information, please view http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/tXHome.html.
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.