$633 Million Nationwide to Make Rural Communities More Energy Independent & Resilient
LINCOLN, Neb. – Following a nationwide announcement by United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday that the Department is investing more the $633 million in rural America, Acting Nebraska State Director for USDA Rural Development Kim Martini announced today, more than $3 million of those funds are coming to Nebraska.
“USDA Rural Development is incredibly proud to support Nebraskans with these investments and assist with Rural Nebraska to prosper. These funds will help local communities better prepare for extreme weather, combat climate change, and give back to their communities at large,” said Martini.
The grants and loans awarded to Nebraskans are intended to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities. The following state organizations or individuals were among those awarded grants or loans ranging from approximately $3k to $1.7 million in Nebraska:
Sapp Brothers Petroleum, M & A Schutte Farms, Inc., Brandon Buckley, Daniel Stanczyk, Duane Ritter, Hadwiger Ag Production, Inc., Irene L. Hughes, Jet Farms, Inc., JT Connor Farms, LLC, Leon Kriesel, Oboetientia, LLC, Suhr Enterprises, Inc., Timothy Chancellor, Todd Garrelts, Zimmermans, Inc., Bevans Enterprises, Inc., James Wiese, Michael Lindhorst, Timothy Baumgart, William Benson.
For example, in Crawford, Irene Hughes was awarded a loan guarantee of $30,576.00 and a grant of $3,976.00 under USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. This investment will help Q's Dairy Sweet, a restaurant, install an energy-efficient cooler and freezer. The new system is expected to save the company $1,931.48 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 21,996 kilowatt hours, which is enough energy to power two homes per year.
In Broken Bow, Timothy Chancellor, a swine farmer, received a USDA Rural Energy for America Program Grant of $60,527.00 to install two 25 kW rooftop mounted, one 99 kW rooftop mounted, and a 99 kW ground mounted solar array. This will create a savings of $39,769.89 per year and replace 364,084 kilowatt hours per year, enough energy to power 33 homes.
In Roca and North Platte, the Sapp Brothers Petroleum was awarded a grant of $1,765,220.00 under USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. This will be used to expand the sales of biodiesel by installing a new dedicated biodiesel tank and associated pumping and piping system; a biodiesel storage tank and loading equipment; convert a 200,000-gallon tank to hold biodiesel, and add insulation and heat trace piping at five locations including those in Nebraska, as well as operations in Wyoming, Colorado, and Connecticut to expand the sales and use of renewable fuels. This project is expected to increase the amount of biodiesel sold by 87,333,100 gallons per year. The purpose of this funding program is to assist owners of transportation fueling and fuel distribution facilities in activities designed to expand the sales and use of ethanol and biodiesel resulting in less emissions.
“There is no question that rural America is feeling the impact of climate change, and our need investments that will strengthen our resilience,” said Vilsack Monday. “President Biden created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. Thanks to the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, USDA will be able to fund more and more critical projects like those announced today in the coming months and years.”
Secretary Vilsack recently highlighted 1,141 investments that USDA is making in five programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs include Electric Loan Program, Rural Energy for America Program, Rural Energy Savings Program, and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.
The funding will help people in all 50 states, as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses, and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs.
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 http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.