PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 13, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing $7.4 million to help Oregon farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses lower their energy costs, announced State Directory John Huffman today. The funding is being provided through the Rural Energy for America Program.
"It can be challenging to make a small business, farm, or ranch profitable," said Huffman. "By adopting renewable energy or making energy efficiency improvements, rural business owners and ag producers can reduce their utility expenses and improve their bottom line."
In Ashland, for example, the Italian restaurant Pie + Vine used a $15,800 grant to purchase and install a 26-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the building. This renewable energy system will replace 64 percent of the business's energy use and reduce its utility bill by $4,215 per year, helping this rural business continue to succeed.
In a rural area outside Portland, a commercial timber and nursery operation will use a $2,250 grant to make energy efficiency improvements. By installing energy-efficient cooling systems in its green house, Cedahlia Park will reduce its energy use by 7,200 kilowatt-hours per year and save $864 on its utility bill each year.
Nationwide, USDA is investing $237 million to help 640 ag producers and rural businesses lower their energy costs in all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Western Pacific. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreements.
Financing provided through the Rural Energy for America Program can be used to install renewable energy systems, such as bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar systems. Funding provided through this program can also be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; insulation; lighting; refrigeration; and irrigation systems, among others.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to 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 healthcare facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.