USDA Helps Farmers, Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs
HARRISBURG, June 11, 2019 – Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding 58 grants for projects in 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.
“Lowering energy costs helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs,” Baxley said. “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.”
USDA is providing the grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration, for example.
Here is an example of how a Pennsylvania recipient will use their grant:
Zette Stable LLC will use a grant of $19,000 to purchase and install a 22.8 KW solar array on a barn that houses approximately 15 horses for Zette Stables, located in the rural community of Lumberville in Bucks County. This project will replace 28,352 kWh of electricity per year (63 percent) and save $3,969 per year.
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.