Funding Can Help Maine Farmers, Rural Small Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs
Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley 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.
“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 State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “Thriving rural Maine businesses are key to building prosperous communities. USDA Rural Development’s REAP Guaranteed Program can help businesses save on energy costs by installing renewable energy systems that also protect Maine’s pristine environment.”
USDA accepts applications for REAP funding year-round. Potential applicants should contact their state USDA Rural Development 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.
Recent examples of Rural Energy for America Program Guaranteed Loans to Maine recipients include Cooper Farms, Inc., in Monmouth.
Cooper Farms, Inc., received a REAP Guaranteed Loan in the amount of $1,312,500 in 2018. This Rural Development investment was used to make energy efficiency improvements with the purchase and installation of a new Greefa GeoSort III apple sorting machine to replace an existing apple processing line. This machine detects size, shape, color, blemishes, and the internal conditions of the apples and sorts accordingly. Cooper Farms, Inc. grows apples on more than 500 acres of land in Monmouth, Buckfield, Winthrop and West Paris. This project is anticipated to save 8,652 kWh of electricity annually.
For more information on the REAP Program, please contact Cheryl Pelletier at (207) 764-4157 or email her at Cheryl.Pelletier@usda.gov.
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.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. Rural Development staff work diligently to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/me.