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Biden-Harris Administration Investment of $266 Million includes $180,000 in Southern New England to Help Rural Business Owners, Farmers and Ranchers Lower Energy Costs, Generate Income, and Expand Operations, as Part of Investing in America Agenda

Brent Wucher
Amherst, MA
Release Date

AMHERST, MA, Aug. 30, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is awarding $266 million in loans and grants to agriculture producers and rural small businesses to make investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operation. This funding is made possible in part by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.

“Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” Secretary Vilsack said. “A key pillar of Bidenomics, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is ensuring our producers and business owners are not only a part of the clean energy economy but are directly benefitting from it. These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”

The USDA investment of $266 million in 1,334 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects includes $178,845 in grants to 11 projects in Southern New England. The Department is awarding the loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), including funding from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

“Though significant, these grants represent only a small part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment of nearly $7 million in grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency for rural communities in Southern New England,” said Scott J. Soares State Director USDA Rural Development Southern New England. “Thanks to the Administration’s historic commitments, we look forward to supporting additional projects and encourage farms and rural small businesses to contact our offices to learn how REAP may support their efforts.”

Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is working to ensure that 40 percent of the benefits of certain federal investments reach communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.

 The funding announced today is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to grow the American economy from the middle-out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.   

For example:

  • A $20,000 grant to Great Acres Farm, LLC in Goshen, CT will support the purchase and install a 21.60-kilowatt (kW) roof mounted photovoltaic solar system. The project is expected to replace 26,876 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is enough to power two homes. Great Acres Farm specializes in Polish, Barred Hollands, Serama Chickens, and Nigerian Dwarf & Pygora Goats.
  • Flayvors of Cook Farm LLC a dairy farm and local beef producer in Hadley, MA will use a $20,000 grant to install a 15.36-kilowatt (kW) ground mounted photovoltaic solar system. The project is expected to replace 19,698 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is enough energy to power one home.
  • 11 projects in CT and MA [SSRM1] will use $178,845 to generate more than 300,000 kWh of electricity or enough to power 24 homes. 

In addition to the Southern New England projects, USDA is making awards in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Guam and Puerto Rico.

The Department expects to make additional awards in the coming months. 

 USDA continues to accept applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes $144.5 million for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.

Background: Inflation Reduction Act

As a core pillar of Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Inflation Reduction Act makes the largest investment in climate action in history and is lowering energy costs, bringing opportunity to communities across America and tackling the climate crisis through investments in agriculture, forest restoration, and rural communities.

The Biden-Harris Administration championed the Inflation Reduction Act to help provide new funding and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs, and spur economic growth. It is the largest single investment in rural electrification since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across America.

It provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible organizations invest in renewable energy infrastructure and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It will boost the long-term resiliency, reliability, and affordability of rural electric systems. It will help families save money on utility bills, and it will expand rural opportunities in the clean-energy economy.

For more information on the Inflation Reduction Act, visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/inflation-reduction-act.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas in Southern New England, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ct-ma-ri or contact the USDA Rural Development Southern New England State Office.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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