Temple, Texas, May 06, 2014 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications from rural small businesses and agricultural producers for funding to make energy efficiency improvements or to install renewable energy systems.
“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Vilsack said. “This funding will help farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations, create jobs and help America become more energy independent. When small rural businesses and farmers cut their energy costs with cleaner and more efficient energy, we are both helping their bottom lines and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that affects our climate.”
The funding announced today is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Investments from programs like REAP help support the true engine of America’s economic growth – a thriving middle class. REAP is one of many USDA programs and initiatives to support an expanded domestic energy economy. In addition to helping to increase renewable energy production, USDA makes investments in the bioeconomy, provides support for the emerging biobased products industry, supports new technologies, and supports energy efficiency improvements.
“We’re pleased to offer this funding availability to those who are interested in identifying and implementing projects that will conserve energy,” said Paco Valentin, Texas State Director of USDA Rural Development. “Projects funded through Rural Development’s REAP program reduce our dependence on foreign resources and help America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses become more energy efficient.”
REAP funding is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies to create opportunities for growth and prosperity, support innovative technologies, identify new markets for agricultural producers and better utilize our nation’s natural resources.
Created by the 2008 Farm Bill, REAP was reauthorized by the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill. For fiscal year (FY) 2014, USDA plans to award up to $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loan guarantees. Additional REAP funds provided by the Farm Bill will be made available with a subsequent notice.
USDA is accepting applications for:
· Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantee and grant combinations;
· Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantees; and
· Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants.
Requests for grants may not exceed 25 percent of a project’s cost – either for stand-alone grant requests or for grants combined with loan guarantees.
For more information visit the USDA Rural Development Texas Energy webpage at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TX_Energy.html or page 25564 of the May 5, 2014 Federal Register located online at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-05-05/pdf/2014-10054.pdf. For grant only applications, applicants may submit their electronic applications at www.grants.gov. All other applications for Texas applicants must be submitted to Billy Curb, Texas Rural Development Energy Coordinator, 101 South Main Street, Suite 102, Temple, Texas 76501 no later than 4:30 p.m. of the dates as follows:
· For renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications: July 7, 2014.
· For renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications: On a continuous basis up to July 31, 2014.
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.