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USDA Helps Rural Businesses Make Energy Efficiency Improvements, Adopt Renewable Energy Systems

Ernie Watson
Release Date

Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $237 million to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses lower energy costs. The Department is providing 640 awards to applicants in all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. 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,” LaVoy 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.”

   Rural Development State Director Arthur A. Garcia agreed saying, “By investing in the four projects we have announced today we’re able to provide new income opportunities. These four businesses will be more profitable which in turn will create a better economy in rural New Mexico.”

   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.

  The four businesses receiving REAP funding here in New Mexico will use the money to install solar systems to offset their cost of doing business. The four businesses are:

  • McGinn Enterprises, Inc. of Alamogordo, New Mexico which received a $40,890 grant to offset the cost to install a $163,560 solar array for the McGinn Pistachio Land Retail facility. The solar system will save $12,576.00 per year in energy bills which is enough to power eight homes.
  • Wallace holdings a family owned property investment business has been obligated a $71,250 grant to purchase and install three separate solar arrays at office complexes in Alamogordo, Berino, and in Roswell.  The combined solar power systems will save approximately $42,336 in energy savings per year.

Roberta Cordova a Santa Rosa, New Mexico businesswoman is receiving two REAP grants for two of her businesses. 

  • The first is for the construction of a solar array at the Super 8 Hotel in Santa Rosa. The $72,900 REAP grant will be used to offset the $291,600 needed to install the solar power system. It’s estimated the solar system will save the business $21,238 a year in electricity usage. 
  • The second award is for the Phillips 66 gas station in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. This business is receiving a $59,400 grant to offset the $237,600 cost to purchase and install a solar power array.  By installing the solar power system, the business will save $16,904 every year in electricity costs.

   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.