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USDA Commemorates Earth Day with $27.1 Million for Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change in Michigan

Alec Lloyd
East Lansing
Release Date
Apr 22, 2022

Today, in honor of Earth Day 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. These investments will strengthen the health and livelihoods of people across rural America. They include funding for 165 projects to expand access to safe water and/or clean energy for people living in disadvantaged communities.

“People in rural America are experiencing the impacts of climate change in many ways. This includes more severe droughts, more frequent wildfires, and more destructive and life-threatening storms,” Vilsack said. “When we invest in infrastructure in rural communities, we are investing in our planet, and we’re also investing in the peace of mind families will have when kids are drinking clean and safe tap water in their homes. USDA is proud to celebrate Earth Day and the many ways we are addressing climate change and investing in locally-driven solutions to bring safe water and renewable energy to people in rural areas everywhere.”

Michigan has eight projects with a total investment of $27.1 million.

“These investments are helping to make Michigan more energy self-sufficient and combating climate change,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins.  “They will pay dividends for years to come in terms of protecting the environment and spurring economic growth.”

Great Lakes Energy Cooperative will use a $27,044,000 Electric Infrastructure Loan to finance the expansion and renovation of its headquarters, service and warehouse facility.  It is headquartered in Boyne and serves on average 126,956 connected consumers through 14,573 miles of line through 25 counties in western and northern Michigan.

SweetOrr Farms LLC, in Cheboygan County, will use a $20,000 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install 79 kW and 90kW solar PV systems.  The generated energy will be sold to Cheboygan area schools through a 20-year purchase power agreement. This project will realize $28,328 per year in income, and will generate 197,548 kWh per year, which is enough energy to power 18 homes. Project payback is 11 years.

Michigan has six additional REAP grant recipients who will use funds for solar PV systems:



Grant Amount

Showcase Gardens & Farm Market Inc.

Branch County


Key Blooms Inc.

Kalamazoo County


Old Hickory Beefalo Farms LLC

Kalkaska County


Phil's Undercar Specialist Shop Inc.

Lenawee County


KW Corporation Inc.

Livingston County


Holstege Farms West LLC

Ottawa County



Background: Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour

Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force are working with rural communities to deliver on the promise of support for rural America.

The Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour is a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from key rural communities. These visits will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment that will support rural communities and their infrastructure needs.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, 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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