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USDA Rural Development Adds Staff and Technical Assistance Providers to Meet the Demand for Inflation Reduction Act Funding

Deborah Brumfield
Release Date

ATHENS, Ga., 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.

“We’re working hard to ensure as many people as possible can access this historic funding,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Reggie Taylor. “Our Energy Programs staff processed 136 REAP grants in FY2023. This is a four-fold increase in applications over recent years. For this new Fiscal Year, which started on October 1, 2023, the team has already received 47 applications and awarded nearly $7 million in REAP grants,” Taylor said.

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 solar and other forms of renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements that save business owners money. So far, USDA has made $1.25 billion of that available and has seen a dramatic increase in grant applications under the program.

The new Grants Management positions, which will appear at USAJobs.gov today, are part of the USDA Climate Change Fellows 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.

In addition to creating the Climate Fellows to hire grant management staff to work on REAP, last fall, in anticipation of increased interest in the program the Department of Agriculture extended a grant opportunity to Technical Assistance providers who will assist applicants for REAP. There are four REAP Technical Assistance Grant recipients at the ready to assist Georgia’s Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses with the program:


REAP Technical Assistance Providers in Georgia:

Golden Triangle Resource Conservation & Development Area, Inc, providing technical assistance on Energy Efficiency Improvements for rural small businesses to include: Education and outreach regarding the USDA Energy Efficiency Improvements program; Assistance filing for System Award Management (SAM) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) registrations; Assistance with completing a REAP grant application.; Helping to identify contractors who are qualified to perform Energy Assessments and Audits and Assistance with completion of environmental reports and/or documentation required for submittal of applications to the USDA REAP office.

Golden Triangle RC&D will target eligible and qualified Small Business in

Baker, Clay, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Webster, and Worth counties.

Contact Julie Shutters Implementation Manager

Address: 4344 Albany Highway

Dawson, GA 39842

Phone: 229-995-2027

Email: jshutters@goldentrianglercd.org

Rhonda Gordon Executive Director

Phone: 229-995-2027

Email: rgordon@goldentrianglercd.org

Lattice Energy Solutions and its member partner at Ag Solar Solutions provides education on various renewable energy systems, resources, and grants that are available, in addition to assisting qualified candidates to apply for the REAP grant and completing your project from beginning to completion.

As a recipient of the TAG grant through the USDA, Lattice Energy Solutions is also approved to assist in applying throughout the United States but have also been awarded the TAG technology assistance grant to cover all qualified candidates application costs; from the design engineering and grant writing fees Serving the Entire state of Georgia.

For a list of upcoming Lattice Energy Solutions presentations statewide and to see if you qualify, please go to www.gareapgrant.com or call at 844-771-0787.

Brown Irrigation and Electrical LLC, is an agriculture irrigation business that strives to help ag producers and growers be successful in their area of business. Through the REAP TA Grant, they promote energy efficient ways to help ag producers increase their yields and become more successful in their crops each year. They also assist producers with the process of applying for REAP grants so that they can have equipment that will promote energy efficient projects to help conserve energy and replace fossil fuels in ag production.

Brown’s service area is the areas that are in a fifty-mile radius of Hawkinsville, Georgia. These counties are Monroe, Bibb, Jones. Baldwin, Twiggs, Wilkinson, Washington, Johnson, Laurens, Treutlen, Montgomery, Wheeler, Telfair, Coffee, Ben Hill, Irwin, Turner, Worth, Crisp, Tift, Lee, Sumter, Schley, Taylor, Crawford, Peach, Houston, Macon, Dooly, Wilcox, Pulaski, Bleckley, and Dodge.

They have an extensive amount of experience. Jaye Brown, owner of Brown Irrigation, who is also an Electrical Engineer has been doing REAP projects for more than 11 years. Jaye has prepared information for energy audits. He has also provided renewable energy technical assistance to ag producers and small businesses. Jaye has successfully applied for approximately one hundred projects during this time. Cole Brown, degree in Ag Science in Environmental systems, has been helping producers apply for grants for one and a half years. Lesley Brown Ed.S., has been helping producers apply for grants for two years. Lesley has helped with gathering information, applicant responses and returning information.

Brown Irrigation | 60 Technology Blvd |Hawkinsville, Ga 31036 |478-892-3697


Seven Rivers Resource Conservation & Development Area will be providing REAP application technical assistance, program outreach and technical assistance to agricultural producers and small businesses. Contact Brenda at 912-367-7679.


Background: Inflation Reduction Act

As a core pillar of the President’s Investing in America agenda, the Inflation Reduction Act is the largest investment in climate action in history. It is also the largest single investment in rural electrification since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

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 lowering energy costs, bringing opportunity to communities across America and tackling the climate crisis through investments in agriculture, forest restoration and rural communities.

REAP is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is working to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments reach disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA Rural Development state office.

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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.