Washington, Nov 08, 2013 -- Contact:
Kevin Tuttle, 715-701-2589
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Projects to Improve Farm and Rural Business Energy Efficiency
Wisconsin Receives Funding for Six Energy Efficiency and Solar Projects
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 424 projects across the nation that will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, and use renewable energy technologies in their operations.
“Today’s Rural Energy for America Program announcements will provide further assistance for agricultural producers and rural small business owners to save energy, promote renewable energy creation, and boost the bottom line for their operation,” Vilsack said. “By investing in clean, renewable energy created in rural America, USDA is able to provide new income opportunities in our small towns while supporting the Obama Administration’s comprehensive effort to combat the impacts of a changing climate.”
Vilsack noted that today’s funding announcement is another reminder of the importance of Farm Bill programs for the economic vitality of rural America, and a compelling reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed as soon as possible. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy, Vilsack added.
The Rural Energy for America Program 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.
Vilsack announced more than $14 million in grants and loan guarantees to business owners in 22 states, the Western Pacific, the Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. For example, Mountain Springs LLC, a hotel and campground of Suring, Wisconsin, has been selected to receive a $20,000 grant to purchase and install 160 solar panels producing 72,000 kWh annually. This business is visited year round by tourists as it is located near the Chequamegon-Nicolet national forest. Menomonee Tribal Enterprises of Menomonee, Wisconsin, was selected for a $250,000 grant to purchase and install an energy efficient biomass boiler. The new model is expected to save over $325,000 annually. In addition, it will reduce the annual biomass fuel use from 20,000 tons to 9,000 tons.
Under REAP, up to 25 percent of an eligible renewable energy system or energy efficiency improvement project can be funded through a grant, and additional support can be provided in the form of a loan guarantee. Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has helped fund more than 8,250 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide.
View the list of recipients announced today under the Rural Energy for America Program. Each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant or loan agreement.
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.
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