State Director for Rural Development John Rounsaville 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, with nine businesses in Mississippi being among the latest awardees. USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“Energy costs can significantly affect the operating budgets of small businesses,” Rounsaville said. “By reducing costs, businesses are free to reinvest in themselves and grow their operations.”
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.
For example, Vicksburg Forest Products, LLC in Vicksburg, Mississippi is reopening a lumber mill in Vicksburg it purchased from Anderson-Tully Co. earlier this year. Rural Development is investing $250,000 in grant funding to upgrade lighting and make improvements to a compressed air system, which will lower electrical consumption by an estimated 63 percent a year, enough to power 462 homes. After significant upgrades and modifications are complete, funding from Rural Development combined with corporate investment from other sources will create 125 jobs.
Additional examples include:
- Chromcraft Revington Douglas Ind. Ltd. in Sardis, Mississippi will use a $92,812 investment to make energy efficient LED lighting upgrades expected to save as much as $90,000 per year.
- Branch Poultry Farm, Inc. in Foxworth, Mississippi will use a $67,215 investment to make energy efficiency improvements to their poultry houses, including new fans, foam board and walls, and replacement of brooders.
- Kased Bros. Hallal Meat, Inc. in Summit, Mississippi will use a $25,321 investment to install a solar array system.
- Rex Lumber in Brookhaven, Mississippi will use a $68,012 investment to make energy efficient lighting upgrades.
- Dream Acres LLC in Tylertown, Mississippi will use $55,517 to upgrade their lighting and HVAC system, and purchase new energy efficient insulation and doors.
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.