USDA Invests in Energy Efficiency Improvements to Help Farmers, Rural Businesses and Ag Producers Lower Energy Costs
MONTGOMERY, Aug. 20, 2019 – Rural Development Alabama State Director Chris Beeker today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in Alabama and other states including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.
“This is great news for rural business in Alabama. Lowering energy costs helps rural businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs,” Beeker said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to increasing economic development in America’s rural communities through strong partnerships because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks.
Recipients can use REAP funding for a variety of needs, such as conducting energy audits and installing renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. Funds also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Listed below are a few examples of how farmers, rural business owners and institutions are making investments in their operations through REAP.
In Aliceville, Buchanan Hardwood Flooring Company LLC will use a $19,525 REAP grant to purchase and install LED Lighting. The company manufactures top quality red and white oak flooring. This project will save 477,980kWh per year, enough electricity to power 50 homes.
In Aliceville, McGee Lumbar Company Inc. will use a $6,459 REAP grant to install LED lighting at a sawmill.This project will save $11,133 per year and will save 111,330kWh per year, enough electricity to power 11 homes.
In Cullman, Gaylon Drake CPA will use a $7,182 REAP grant to install a 7.68kW solar array (solar panels). This will save $1,164 per year in energy costs.
In Bay Minette, Gulf Coast Automation Solutions LLC will be used to make energy efficiency improvements and install LED lighting at a machining facility. This project will save $11,389 per year and will save 54,236kWh per year, enough electricity to power 5 homes.
In Monroeville, Harrigan Lumber Company Inc. will use a $20,000 REAP grant to install a new air compressor at a sawmill. This project will save 398,506kWh per year, enough electricity to power 38 homes.
In Jasper, Jasper Lumber Company Inc. will use a $20,000 REAP grant to install a new air compressor at a sawmill. This project will save 1,035,915kWh per year, enough electricity to power 95 homes.
In McShan, McShan Lumbar Company Inc. will use a $19,562 REAP grant to install a new air compressor at a sawmill. This will save 431,715kWh per year, enough electricity to power 40 homes.
In Geneva County, Peak Farms Inc. will use a $7,981 REAP grant to purchase and install new tube fans and add insulation for poultry houses. This project will save 75,124kWh per year, enough electricity to power 7 homes.
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.