DAWSON, Ga., Nov. 7, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today met with Georgia farmers and partners at the office of Golden Triangle Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council to highlight investments in renewable energy and partnerships leading to economic development.
Her visit is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America Rural Event Series, and follows an announcement last week of $5 billion in new investments for rural communities nationwide, across several USDA programs. The REAP grants being awarded to Georgia farms and businesses are part of that investment.
“Thanks to President Biden's historic investment in rural America, USDA is providing new opportunities for rural people in their hometowns,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Torres Small. “USDA is investing in farmers to promote growth and build a stronger, more sustainable economy for people in rural communities throughout Georgia and across our country.”
The 136 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants that Georgia farms and businesses received in FY2023 (Oct. 1, 2022- Sept. 30, 2023) includes 86 solar energy projects, a grain dryer, one wood chipper, three anaerobic digesters, energy efficiency improvements to three poultry houses, 38 diesel to electric irrigation pump conversions, one upgrade to food store coolers, and three lighting upgrades. A portion of these are part of $145 million in REAP loans and grants, made to 697 businesses nationwide announced last week. These investments will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses install renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to lower their costs, generate new income and strengthen their resilience to new markets.
During her stop at the Golden Triangle RC&D Council, Deputy Secretary Torres Small led a roundtable discussion with the Council, board members, local producers and some recipients of the RC&D programs. For example, the Golden Triangle RC&D Household Water Well Loan Program is designed to help low-income rural homeowners construct, repair, or upgrade household water well systems. Funding is provided through USDA Rural Development's Household Water Well System grant program. Also, recently the Golden Triangle RC&D was awarded $135,000 to provide Technical Assistance for REAP applicants.
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.
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