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USDA Announces $21 Million Investment to Help Lower Energy Costs for Farmers and Rural Business Owners

Tracey Krespach
Release Date

RICHMOND, Va., July 13, 2023 – Renewable energy systems like wind and solar may soon be within reach for more Virginia farmers and rural businesses, thanks to new technical assistance grants being offered through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. 

“We are in a unique position to make climate-smart investments in Virginia’s rural infrastructure that will create new economic opportunities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “These technical assistance grants will not only provide hands-on support to those seeking funding for energy efficiency improvements but will also increase access to new markets and strengthen these operations.”

State, Tribal or local governments; colleges and universities; electric cooperatives and utility companies; and for-profit and non-profit organizations can now apply for $21 million in technical assistance grants available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to help prospective applicants access these resources. 

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.

USDA will give funding priority to applicants proposing to assist distressed or disadvantaged communities, pursuing projects using underutilized technologies and seeking grants under $20,000.

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.

More details are available in the Federal Register notice. Interested applicants can also contact Virginia State Energy Coordinator Tracey Krepach at (804) 287-1606 or tracey.krespach@usda.gov with specific questions. 

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.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the Virginia Rural Development state office. Also visit our GovDelivery subscriber page to receive regular USDA Rural Development updates.