CHATFIELD, Minn., Nov 13, 2013 -- Contact:
Nikki Gillespie, (651) 602-7799
USDA Officials Highlight Projects to Improve Farm Renewable Energy and Rural Business Energy Efficiency
CHATFIELD, Minn. – USDA Rural Development State Director today announced funding for 75 projects throughout rural Minnesota that will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, and use renewable energy technologies in their operations.
“Authorized by the now-expired 2008 Farm Bill, The Rural Energy for America Program helps agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce fossil fuel use by promoting renewable energy sources and technologies,” Landkamer said. “Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in Rural America. As part of the President’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy, REAP not only strengthens the bottom line for businesses, it also helps preserve this country’s natural resources.”
Landkamer 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, Landkamer added.
The Rural Energy for America Program (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.
Landkamer announced more than $2.3 million in grants and loan guarantees to business owners across the state while visiting two grant recipients in southeastern Minnesota today. For example, Marzolf Implement, of Spring Valley, Minnesota, was selected to receive an $11,437 grant to install more energy efficient lighting and in-floor heating and to install a more efficient heating, ventilation and cooling system. These improvements were made during construction of Marzolf Implement’s new facility after the roof of their previous building collapsed due to excessive snow accumulation. Dennis Hamm, in Chatfield, Minnesota, was selected for a $26,768 grant to help purchase and install over 144 solar panels on the roof on an existing farm building. The project is expected to generate 48,914 kilowatt hours of energy annually. That amount would offset approximately 34.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide produced from coal-based power plants.
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 2009, REAP has helped fund more than 850 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects statewide.
Marzolf Implement’s energy efficiency improvements totaled $45,748 with a projected annual energy savings of over $5,000. The REAP grant covered about a quarter of the cost of the new improvements, with Marzolf Implement covering the remaining costs. Corey Marzolf said that the 25 percent REAP grant will help offset his loan payback from over nine years down to six years.
View Minnesota’s list of recipients announced today, as well as the 324 other recipients nationwide, 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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