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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Projects to Boost Renewable Energy Production, Reduce Energy Consumption

Jacqueline Susmann
Release Date
Jun 25, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has selected 450 projects nationwide, including 4 in New Hampshire, that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

“The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, and protect the environment while strengthening the bottom line for businesses.” said Vilsack. “This is part of the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job creation in rural America.” Secretary Vilsack made the announcement while touring Metrolina Greenhouses, a family-owned plant and services company in Huntersville, N.C., that has received a REAP guaranteed loan and three grants totaling over $1 million since 2007.

Cloutier Sand and Gravel, Inc, in Columbia NH, received two grants totaling $27,000 to install a biomass system and a solar array. The Woodstock Inn Again, LTD of North Woodstock NH, received a $15,500 grant to place a solar array on its property that will result in significant energy savings. EBE Leasing LLC of Pittsfield NH, received $20,000 to make several energy efficiency improvements that will save energy and money.

REAP offers funds for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems, make energy-efficiency improvements, conduct feasibility studies and energy audits, and provide renewable energy development assistance.

“Jobs preserved, businesses enhanced, energy and money saved are all accomplished through this program,” commented State Director for USDA Rural Development, Molly Lambert. “These business people are entrepreneurs and innovators. USDA is pleased to partner with them.”

These federal funds leverage other funding sources for businesses. In all, USDA announced nearly $7.4 million in energy grants today. This announcement is an example of investments the Obama Administration is making to help create jobs and grow the rural economy. For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program grant recipients announced today, please click here.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council, the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities. The Council is working to break down silos, find areas for better collaboration and improved flexibility in government programs, and work closely with local governments, non-profits and private companies to leverage federal support.

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. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 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.