AMHERST, Mass., August 24, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh today announced USDA is investing $121 million in critical infrastructure to combat climate change across rural America. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities.
“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” Bronaugh said. “The Biden-Harris Administration has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure. The investments we’re announcing today and those that will be made possible by historic funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will strengthen our energy security, create good-paying jobs and save Americans money on their energy costs.”
In Rural Southern New England, USDA RD has made multiple climate-smart investments in rural infrastructure. Investment will be used to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems, and in making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.
Chase Hill Farm, in Warwick, MA, a family owned and specializes in organic grass fed dairy, beef, pork and chicken, project funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a 12.6-kW solar array. The system will ensure the farm never loses power. This project will realize $1,200 per year in savings and will replace 16,187 kWh per year.
Kimberry Farms in Carver, MA consists of 14 acres of cranberry bogs. Project funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a 15.48-kW solar array. This project will realize $2,847 per year in savings and will replace 17,908 kWh per year.
Vinyl Technologies has been designing, building, and selling industrial laser equipment for over 30 years in Fitchburg, MA. Project funds will be used to make energy efficiency improvements with the purchase and installation of LED lighting. This project will realize $13,493 per year in savings and will replace 75,381 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power six homes.
Matunuck Oyster Farm in is a supplier to the internationally renowned Matunuck Oyster Bar in Wakefield, RI. Project funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a 44.5-kW solar array. This project will realize $4,871 per year in savings and will replace 22,969 kWh per year.
Wishing Stone Inc. is a farm in Little Compton, RI with a commitment to sustainable agriculture. Project funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a 24-kW solar array. This project will realize $6,663 per year in savings and will replace 31,760 kWh per year.
Rogers Orchards is an 8th generation family farm located in Southington, CT. Project funds will be used to make energy efficiency improvements with the purchase and installation of LED lighting. This project will realize $12,196 per year in savings and will replace 63,425 kWh (19 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power five homes.
Paley’s Farm & Garden Center will use the funding to install a more energy-efficient refrigeration and lighting system. Paley's is a small vegetable farm in Sharon, CT. The new system is expected to save the company $2,557 in electrical costs per year.
These projects only reflect a few of the many recent projects USDA Rural Development Southern New England has invested in renewable energy projects.
These investments reflect the goals of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which addresses immediate economic needs and includes the largest ever federal investment in clean energy for the future. For example, the Act includes $14 billion in funding for USDA programs that support the expansion of biofuels and help rural businesses and electric cooperatives transition to renewable energy and zero-emission systems.
Bronaugh highlighted a total of 415 investments that USDA is making through three programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants, and Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants.
The investments will help state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Tribes construct, renovate or purchase and install equipment for essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. They also will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems as well as make energy efficiency improvements. The investments will also help with energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and renewable energy site assessments.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.