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USDA Now Accepting Applications for 40 Climate Change Fellows to Help Record Number of Farmers and Rural Small Businesses Access Clean Energy Funds

Release Date

DAVIS, Calif. Dec. 22, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it is hiring 40 Climate Change Fellows to help with the record numbers of applications from farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses seeking funding for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The new positions are being funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis, a key pillar of Bidenomics and part of the Investing in America agenda.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is hard at work making sure as many people as possible can access historic funding to make clean energy improvements at their farms, ranches and businesses,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “These innovations will help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families.”

“Each year in California we award millions of dollars toward making clean energy changes that benefit our rural business owners and agricultural producers,” USDA Rural Development California State Director Maria Gallegos Herrera said. “We welcome and encourage these new hires that will undoubtedly advance USDA’s goal to help more people here access funding opportunities.”

The positions are part of the USDA Climate Change Fellows Program, which hires new staff with a range of skills to carry out USDA’s activities to address climate change and find solutions to agricultural challenges, enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers and producers. The program brings expertise and fresh perspectives to the federal workforce and expands the climate consciousness of state offices around the country. These historic investments in in future agricultural leaders will help USDA attract the best and brightest to face the growing challenges of the agricultural economy.

The Inflation Reduction Act provided REAP with $2 billion of funding to meet growing demand from farmers and small business owners looking to expand their use of wind, solar and other forms of clean energy and make energy efficiency improvements that save business owners money and, in some cases, generate new revenue sources though net metering and power purchase agreements. So far, USDA has made $1.25 billion of that available and has seen a dramatic increase in grant applications under the program.

Three of the new positions will report to USDA Rural Development’s national office.

Two fellows each will be based in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota.

One fellow each will be based in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware/Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.

To apply for a position in California, visit this USA Jobs posting.

Initial appointments may be for up to two years. Additional one-year extensions may be made up to four years. Most states will receive additional funds, announced at a later date, to provide REAP technical assistance in addition to these staffing positions.

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/ca. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.