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USDA Invests Millions with Rural Business Owners, Farmers and Ranchers To Lower Energy Costs, Generate Income, and Expand Operations Through Renewable Energy Program

Philip Eggman
Release Date

Olympia, Aug. 30, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that USDA is investing $266 million in 1,334 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in 47 states, including Washington, to agriculture producers and rural small businesses to help lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operation.

"The USDA is partnering with 34 businesses all across our state with nearly $6 million of investing in renewable energy production," said Helen Price Johnson, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State. "From the Olympic Peninsula to the Palouse, this is game changer.”

USDA is awarding the loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), including funding from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

“Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. “These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”

Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. The 34 businesses in Washington State announced today, combined, will save over $678,900 on their utility bills, offsetting enough energy to power more than 2000 homes. For example:

  • Sakata Seed America Inc., an agricultural producer in rural Skagit County, will use a $979,000 grant to install a renewable-energy 1 Megawatt solar array, saving $88,659 annually, replacing 1.1 million kilowatt hours, enough energy to power 105 homes.
  • Farm Power Lynden LLC., located in rural Whatcom County, will use a $731,677 grant to purchase and install retrofit equipment for an anaerobic digester. This project annually will save $201,600 and generate 4.2 million kilowatt hours, enough energy to power 392 homes.
  • Leo Gasseling & Sons Inc., an agricultural producer in rural Yakima County, will use a $500,000 grant to help convert hop-drying kilns to be more energy-efficient. The project will replace inefficient diesel kilns with efficient propane kilns. The business has farmed within the Yakima Nation Tribal Reservation since 1973. This project annually will save $298,720 and replace 910,865 kilowatt hours, enough energy to power 88 homes in a year.
  • Pullman Disposal Service Inc., an existing business located in rural Whitman County, will use a $92,840 grant to purchase and install a 107 kilowatt hour solar array that will save $18,703 per year replace 140,134 kilowatt hours per year which is enough to power 13 homes.The Department expects to make additional awards in the coming months. 

USDA continues to accept applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes $144.5 million for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.

Background: Inflation Reduction Act

As a core pillar of Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Inflation Reduction Act makes the largest investment in climate action in history and is lowering energy costs, bringing opportunity to communities across America and tackling the climate crisis through investments in agriculture, forest restoration, and rural communities.

The Biden-Harris Administration championed the Inflation Reduction Act to help provide new funding and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs and spur economic growth. It is the largest single investment in rural electrification since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Administration is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across America.

It provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible organizations invest in renewable energy infrastructure and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It will boost the long-term resiliency, reliability and affordability of rural electric systems. It will help families save money on utility bills, and it will expand rural opportunities in the clean-energy economy.

For more information on the Inflation Reduction Act, visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/inflation-reduction-act

USDA 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. To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wa.