HARRISBURG, PA, Aug 21, 2013 -- Local Contact: Dawn Bonsell (717) 237-2286
National 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
HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 21, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 631 projects across the nation last week– including 35 in Pennsylvania – 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.”
REAP helps producers reduce energy costs and increase production efficiency. For example:
• The Loch Family of Loch’s Maple Syrup in Springville, Susquehanna County will use a $9,347 grant to install a more efficient maple syrup evaporator, offsetting over 80% of energy costs.
• Cove Veterinary Services in Curryville, Blair County was awarded a $10,525 grant to install a 10 KW solar electrical system that will replace approximately 100% of the current electrical usage.
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 Pennsylvania list of recipients for Rural Energy for America Program grants. 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).