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USDA Invests in Energy Efficiency Improvements to Help Farmers, Rural Businesses and Ag Producers Lower Energy Costs

Justin Wilkes
Release Date

State Director for Rural Development John Rounsaville today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in all states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions, including several in Mississippi.

   “Energy costs represent a large expense for many businesses,” Rounsaville said.  “Lowering these costs helps rural businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs.”

   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. Under this announcement, Mississippi organizations received close to $70,000 in grant funding.

  • In Brookhaven, the Big H Directional Drilling Co. received a $6,733 grant that will be used to install a solar array system.

  • In Bay Springs, BMW Farms, Inc. received a $20,000 grant that will be used to upgrade brooders, fans, and baffles.

  • In Brooksville, Kendall Jost received a $15,000 grant to upgrade the aeration systems of the catfish ponds.

  • In Vicksburg, the Magnolia Metal and Plastic Products, Inc. received a grant of $6,181 to make upgrades to their lighting systems, resulting in increased energy efficiency.

  • In Greenwood, Walter Pillow and Sons Planting Co. received a $20,000 grant to upgrade their grain dryer.

   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.