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USDA Invests Over $5 Million in 23 Renewable Energy Projects Across Indiana, Creating Jobs and Lowering Energy Costs for Farmers and Rural Small Businesses

Lewis Hilburn
Release Date

As part of the Earth Week 2024 celebrations, Dr. Terry Goodin, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Indiana State Director, announced today that the USDA will be funding 23 clean energy projects in Indiana. These projects aim to reduce energy costs and offer new market opportunities for farmers, agricultural producers, and businesses in Indiana.

“Clean energy is not only important for the well-being of our planet, but it is also crucial in ensuring the prosperity and sustainability of rural Indiana. By investing in clean energy projects, we are not only protecting the environment but also creating new opportunities for our communities,” Dr. Goodin stated, “These projects not only provide clean energy solutions but also create jobs and stimulate local economies.” [Audio: Mp3, 24 seconds, 589KB]

Rural Clean Energy Production

Dr. Goodin announced $5,528,421 in loans and grants through REAP to support projects across rural Indiana.

The REAP program helps agricultural producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar, geothermal and small hydropower energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for Hoosier families. 

These investments will cut energy costs for Hoosier family farms and other businesses, increasing their resiliency and allowing them to invest back into their communities by creating new jobs and other opportunities. For example:

  • In Berne, Berne Hi-Way Hatchery Inc. has been awarded a USDA Rural Development grant of $534,225 to purchase and install a 489.72 kW solar array. This project will enable the business to save $63,804 annually and replace 640,894 kWh (117 percent) of electricity annually. This amount of energy is enough to power 49 homes.
  • In Bristol, Mahlon Bontrager, dba Custom Curve Cabinetry, LLC will use a $338,904 USDA Rural Development Grant to purchase and install a 108 kilowatt (kW) and 58.5 kW solar array. This project will save the business $38,530 annually and generate 203,546 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually. This amount of energy is enough to power 15 homes.
  • In Owensville, New Generation Dairy, Inc. will use a $125,976 grant from the USDA Rural Development program to buy and install a new dairy chiller. This new equipment will help the farm save money, with expected annual savings of $127,092. Additionally, the new chiller will replace 97% of the farm's electricity consumption, which is equivalent to powering 121 households. In total, the farm is expected to save 1,582,157 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year.

Dr. Goodin went on to say, “We owe it to ourselves and future generations to continue supporting clean energy initiatives to ensure a better and brighter tomorrow for all rural Hoosiers.” [Audio: Mp3, 10 seconds, 246KB]

USDA has invested more than $2 billion through REAP to support renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will help rural business owners lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen their resiliency of operations.

USDA continues to accept REAP applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes a dedicated portion for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information, contact a local energy coordinator.

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. Visit the Rural Data Gateway to learn how and where these investments are impacting rural America. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the 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, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, 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.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.