Investments will Help Nine Businesses in Eight Counties Boost Their Bottom Line
Gainesville, FLA, Dec. 10, 2019 – State Director for Rural Development Philip Leary, AICP today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $699,000 to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses lower energy costs. The State of Florida is providing nine awards to applicants throughout the state, USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“Businesses grow and create more jobs when their energy costs are lower,” Leary said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and to install renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. The funding can also be used to increase energy efficiency by making improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration.
Below are the recipients that were awarded REAP grant funds from the USDA:
• Bar Satsuma LLC located in Putnam County received $26,662 in grant funds for the installation of a solar array system, it will realize $7,398 in annual savings and will reduce past usage by 78 percent. This project will save enough electricity to power multiple homes and produce 64,056 kwh.
• The Damascus Peanut Company located in Madison County received $192,295 in grant funds and will entail the installation of a solar photovoltaic system for the business. Damascus Peanut is a small business and will provide energy efficiency improvements to their operation. The project will realize $98,538 in savings annually, and will replace 1,421,900 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power 131 homes.
• Deroose Plants, Inc located in Orange County was awarded $123,975 in grant funds and will be used for the purchase and installation of a solar array system. Deroose Plants Inc. is a wholesale foliage nursery that will obtain $35,287 in annual savings and generate 271,440 kW per year, and the design will offset approximately 97 percent of the electricity used by the business. This is enough electricity to power 25 homes.
• Do It Yourself Lettering, Inc. located in Columbia County, they were awarded grant funds in the amount of $26,800. These funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a solar photovoltaic system. Do It Yourself Lettering Inc. will replace 74,107 kWh annually and reduce energy costs by $8,426 per year. The system and design will offset approximately 94 percent of the electricity used by the business.
• L & W Venison located in Madison County received $37,338 in grant funds which will be used to make energy efficiency improvements with the purchases for a walk in cooler and freezers. These upgrades are invaluable to their daily operations for the slaughter house. L&W Venison is an existing business that sells meat to the local area. This project will save $3,131 annually and will replace 31,308 kWh (62 percent) per year.
•Living Color Nursery, Inc. located in Dade County received $123,975 in grant funds. The award will be used for the purchase and installation for a roof mounted solar photovoltaic system. The solar panels will replace 271,440 kWh annually and will reduce energy costs by $26,601 per year. The system and design will offset approximately 96 percent of electricity used by the nursery. This project will save enough electricity to power 25 homes.
•New Vision Eye Center, LLC located in Indian River County received $34,580 in grant funds for the purchase and installation for a roof mounted solar array system. This project will obtain $6,032 in annual savings, it will produce 100,489 kWh which is a 39 percent savings and is enough electricity to power nine homes.
•Sarasota Growers, Inc located in Sarasota County received $48,704 in grants funds and will be for the installation of a solar array system. Sarasota Growers Inc. is a veteran owned farm. This project will save the business $13,474 in annual savings, and will replace 112,283 kWh by 100 percent, which is enough electricity to power 10 homes.
•The Laser Investment Group, LLC located in Alachua County received $84,671 in grant funds. The system will generate 285,930 kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power 26 homes. The local economy will benefit from installation jobs and reduction in operating expenses for The Laser Investment Group LLC.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.