Investment to Help 80 Small Businesses and Ag Producers Lower Energy Costs
ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 8, 2020 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced that USDA is investing $1.3 million to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions in rural Minnesota.
“By reducing energy costs, renewable energy helps to create opportunities for improvement elsewhere, like creating jobs,” said Finstad. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner to rural Minnesota in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
In Spring Valley, David Henderson Auto Parts, Inc. will use an $18,750 grant to purchase and install a 40kW solar array that will save the business $7,975 per year and will replace 66,461 kWh (161%) annually, which is enough energy to power six homes.
In rural Morrison County, family cattle farmer Michael Solinger will use an $8,526 grant to purchase and install a 15kW solar array that will save the farm $2,346 per year and will replace 19,478 kWh (144%) per year, which is enough energy to power one home.
In Rushford, Minnesota, real-estate rental business owner Roger Brand will use a $19,078 grant to purchase and install a 37.5kW solar array that will save the business $7,720 per year and replace 64,337 kWh per year, which is enough energy to power six homes.
In rural Martin County, family hog producer Ten Mile Creek LLC will use a $15,750 grant to purchase and install a 53kW solar array that will save the business $6,432 per year and will replace 65,517 kWh (156%) per year, which is enough energy to power six homes.
In rural Stillwater, Minn., small business owner Michael Raleigh will use a $7,832 grant to purchase and install a 24kW solar array. Raleigh operates a gravel pit site and a machinery repair and storage shop. This project will save the business $3,210 per year and will replace 31,826 kWh (125%) per year, which is enough energy to power nearly three homes.
USDA is investing in 80 rural small businesses and ag producers through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants and Guaranteed Loans. Investments can used for renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. REAP funding can also be used for energy audits and to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems, insulation, lighting and refrigeration.
Interested parties should contact their local Minnesota area office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/onerdguarantee to learn more about how the REAP Guaranteed Loan Program will be streamlined under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative beginning October 1, 2020.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.
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