U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development California State Director Kim Dolbow Vann today highlighted three grant awards in California to help reduce energy costs for ag producers and rural small businesses.
"Agriculture is the backbone of many of California's rural communities, and Rural Development's energy programs are a great tool to help our ag producers and other rural businesses improve their bottom lines, while reducing energy use," said Vann.
California State University, Chico Research Foundation received a $50,000 grant to conduct 26 renewable energy site assessments for ag producers and rural small businesses in Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Shasta, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties.
Two other awards went directly to ag producers to purchase solar arrays that will offset electrical costs and supply power for irrigation wells. Lolonis Family Vineyards and Winery in Contra Costa County received a $12,766 grant and Blueberries Ole! in Santa Barbara County received a $17,336 grant.
Funding is provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP funds are available to help ag producers and rural small businesses make energy efficiency improvements or for renewable energy systems. Separately, other institutions and municipalities may use REAP funds to provide technical assistance to ag producers and rural small businesses including energy audits and site assessments.
Nationally, USDA announced a $1 million investment for 58 projects in 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. USDA will make additional REAP funding announcements in coming weeks.
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/ca.