Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today encouraged farmers, rural small businesses and agricultural producers to apply for financing in a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides loan guarantees to help rural small businesses lower their energy costs.
“Renewable energy and energy efficiency help rural small businesses and agricultural producers continue to increase prosperity by decreasing costs on electricity and putting those funds towards their bottom line,” Finstad said. “USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is just one of numerous programs available to help strengthen and grow the rural economy. I urge those interested to contact their local Area Office to learn about this great opportunity.”
Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with the recent announcement made by former Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley that USDA accepts applications for REAP funding year-round. Potential applicants in Minnesota should contact their local Area Office for additional information.
REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems such as anaerobic digesters, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar. It also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Below are some examples of USDA’s REAP investments.
USS Norelius Solar, LLC, a newly created entity for the purposes of generating electricity in North Branch, Minn., received a $1,980,000 loan guarantee to install a 1.4256 Megawatt (MW) photovoltaic array system. The system will generate approximately 2,239,617 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually, which is enough electricity to power 206 homes.
In Stacy, Minn., USS Good Solar, LLC received a $1,930,000 million loan guarantee for the purchase and installation of a 1.4256 Megawatt (MW) photovoltaic array system. The system is estimated to produce 2,206,828 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power 211 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/mn.