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USDA Rural Development Invests $121 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America: $56K in Nebraska

Name
Meredith Mingledorff
City
Lincoln
Release Date
Aug 24, 2022

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh announced today, USDA is investing $121 million in critical infrastructure to combat climate change across rural America. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities.

“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” Bronaugh said. “The Biden-Harris Administration has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure. The investments we’re announcing today and those that will be made possible by historic funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will strengthen our energy security, create good-paying jobs, and save Americans money on their energy costs.”

The funding will help people in 49 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure, and social service needs.

In Elgin, Nebraska, Insurance Mart Inc. was awarded $13,967 to install a 25.2 kW solar array. This project is expected to generate $3,934.53 per year by providing 39,061 kilowatt hours (kWh) 109.86 percent of the company's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power three homes per year. 

In Brunswick, Nebraska, Matthew Meuret was awarded $3,621 to install a more energy-efficient electric irrigation motor. The new system is expected to save the farmer $2,547.24 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 20,839 kilowatt hours (kWh) 79.68 percent of the individual's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power one home per year. 

In Antelope County, Nebraska, Clear Spring Ranch Inc. was awarded $5,473 to install a more energy-efficient electric irrigation motor. The new system is expected to save the soybean farm $3,699.09 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 66,834 kilowatt hours (kWh) 69.40 percent of the company's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power six homes per year.

In Imperial, Nebraska, Maddux Cattle Company was awarded $3,847 to install a more energy-efficient electric irrigation motor. The new system is expected to save the company $5,349.61 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 73,988 kilowatt hours (kWh) 71.26 percent of the company's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power six homes per year.

In in Elwood, Nebraska Norman and William Schutz were awarded $11,541 to install a more energy-efficient electric irrigation motor. The new system is expected to save the cattle farmers $9,647.06 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 187,653 kilowatt hours (kWh) 71.19 percent of the individuals' energy use per year, which is enough energy to power 17 homes per year.

In O'Neill, Nebraska. Mark Chohon was awarded $11,304 to install three diesel to electric irrigation motors. The new system is expected to save the cattle rancher $31,259.97 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 820,108 kilowatt hours (kWh) 75.90 percent of the individual's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power 75 homes per year.

In Palmer, Nebraska, Loup Valley Cattle Co. LLC was awarded $6,923 to install a more energy-efficient electric irrigation motor. The new system is expected to save the cattle farm $4,769.77 in electrical costs per year. The improvements are projected to replace 80,486 kilowatt hours (kWh) 78.92 percent of the company's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power seven homes per year.

These investments reflect the goals of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which addresses immediate economic needs and includes the largest ever federal investment in clean energy for the future. For example, the act includes $14 billion in funding for USDA programs that support the expansion of biofuels and help rural businesses and electric cooperatives transition to renewable energy and zero-emission systems.

Bronaugh highlighted a total of 415 investments that USDA is making through three programs specifically designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. These programs are Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants, and Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants.

The investments will help state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized tribes construct, renovate, or purchase and install equipment for essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. They also will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems as well as make energy efficiency improvements. The investments will also help with energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and renewable energy site assessments. 

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, health care, and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit  www.rd.usda.gov/ne. 

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