Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley encourages 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.
“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,” Baxley said. “USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is an important tool to help strengthen and grow the rural economy.”
USDA Rural Development accepts applications for REAP funding year-round.
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.
The program continues to be popular with rural businesses in Iowa. More than 2,600 projects across the state have received REAP funding since the program was established in 2004.
“Developing renewable energy continues to present enormous economic opportunity for rural Iowa,” said Grant Menke, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “Reducing costs through cleaner and more efficient energy helps rural small businesses and farmers improve their bottom line.”
Recent REAP-funded projects assisting rural businesses in Iowa include the installation of solar arrays and systems, refrigeration units, grain-drying systems, geothermal units, as well as energy-efficient lighting.
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.
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.
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.