HILO, Hawaii, Dec 24, 2013 -- With help from USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Hanalei Tropicals is installing new solar panels to help power their 20 acre taro farm at the foot of Hanalei Bay in Kauai, which produces taro burgers.
Hanalei Tropicals is a non-GMO, pesticide free farm that produces taro burgers for local and mainland customers. "Whole Foods is requesting them by the container," said Holbrook Beck, owner of Hanalei Tropicals. "You can try them yourself locally at Bubbus Burgers, and various health food stores."
Hanalei Tropicals is one of two farms on Kauai that recently received a REAP grant. REAP authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, provides assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of projects. Offering both loan guarantees and grants, the REAP program helps eligible applicants install renewable energy systems such as solar panels or anaerobic digesters, make energy efficiency improvements such as installing irrigation pumps or replacing ventilation systems, and conduct energy audits and feasibility studies.
"The REAP program is Rural Development's flagship renewable energy program," said USDA Rural Development State Director Chris Kanazawa. "As part of President Obama's energy strategy, Rural Development continues to work with farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses to help save energy and improve their bottom line."
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that today's funding announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy. He said that's just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. The agency's office in Kauai is located in Lihue, upstairs from the Kauai Visitor's Bureau, at 4334 Rice Street, Suite 207.
Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
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.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call toll free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-Relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-Relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.