As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Dr. Karama Neal today announced that USDA is making $21 million in technical assistance grants available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses access federal funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.
“Rural America deserves its share of the historic investments in the Inflation Reduction Act,” Neal said. “That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration is making sure rural people get a fair chance at grants to make energy more affordable, create new economic opportunity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The technical assistance grants I am announcing today will provide hands-on support to farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners seeking federal funds for renewable energy systems, like wind and solar, and energy efficiency measures. These investments not only help producers and small businesses lower energy costs, but also access new markets and strengthen their operations.”
USDA Rural Development Arizona State Director Charlene Fernandez added, “In Arizona we are eager to see these funds result in more of our farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses participating in the REAP program. So many of them are ready to make energy improvements and just need a little extra assistance.”
Eligible recipients for these grants include state, Tribal or local governments; colleges and universities; electric cooperatives and utility companies; and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Recipients may use the funds to:
- Help rural agricultural producers and small business owners apply for REAP funding.
- Provide information on how business owners and agricultural producers can improve the energy efficiency of their operations and use renewable energy technologies and resources.
- Conduct required energy assessments and audits.
- Help agricultural producers and small business owners plan, build or develop renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.
This announcement is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the Bidenomics strategy to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private-sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean-energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient. REAP is also part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is advancing environmental justice by ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments reach disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.
USDA will give funding priority to applicants proposing to assist disadvantaged communities, applicants pursuing projects using underutilized technologies and applicants seeking grants under $20,000.
The Department also encourages interested applicants in Arizona to contact Jessie Huff, Arizona Energy Coordinator, at 602-280-8767 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, see the July 13 Federal Register.
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/az.