Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding 58 grants for projects in 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.
Lowering energy costs helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue,USDA is committed to increasing economic development in rural communities across the country through strong partnerships with rural businesses.”
USDA is providing the grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
“These grants help make rural businesses more efficient and competitive,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Jason Allen. “It’s another way we’re working to strengthen rural Michigan communities.”
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration, for example. Michigan has two recipients:
Todd Haynes, in Gratiot County, will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install a 59.84 kilowatt solar system to help power a swine-finishing operation. This project will save $12,771 per year, and will replace 80,070 kwh (95 percent) per year, which is enough energy to power seven homes. Project payback is 10 years.
Golden Limousine, in Washtenaw County, will use a $15,971 grant to purchase and install LED lighting. Golden Limousine has been in the passenger transportation services in Michigan for more than 25 years. This project will save $7,412 per year and will replace 56,758 kWh (69 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power five homes.
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.