Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA has selected Mid America Agri Products/Wheatland, LLC of Madrid, NE to receive $500,000 for ethanol production and Aaron Ross of Columbus, NE to receive $41,250 for wind energy.
These two projects bring the Federal Fiscal Year 2015 funding in Nebraska to 70 projects for $1,806,905 through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy/energy efficiency projects. Through these projects, enough energy was generated or saved to power 4,808 homes. Additionally, an energy auditing program was funded under the REAP Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance for $71,363.
Mid America Agri Products/Wheatland, LLC will utilize USDA funds to install a Cellunator system to provide secondary milling after the primary hammer milling to fine-tune the particle size before entering the fermentation tank which will increase production at the ethanol plant by 1.4 million gallons of advanced biofuel.
Aaron Ross will install a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot tower to replace an existing energy source.
"More rural business owners and ag producers are incorporating energy-saving measures into their business plans," Vilsack said. "These actions improve an operation's bottom line and help reduce its carbon footprint. This funding will help incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology and reduce energy costs."
USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. To view REAP recipients announced earlier in the fiscal year visit:
Congress created the REAP program in the 2002 Farm Bill. Because of the success of the program, Congress reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of at least $50 million annually for the duration of the five-year bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past seven years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has helped finance 10,753 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that have reduced energy costs for rural businesses nationwide. During this period, USDA has provided almost $360 million in grants and $430 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners. When operational, these projects will generate/save an estimated 8.4 million megawatt hours – enough to power more than 760,000 homes for a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That's the equivalent of removing more than 1 million cars from the road.
USDA is reminding eligible recipients that the department is accepting applications for future REAP funding. For application deadlines and details on how to apply, contact Nebraska Energy Coordinator Jeff Carpenter at 402-437-5554 or email@example.com and visit Federal Register.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.