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Ohio Ag Producers, Rural Businesses Benefit from USDA Renewable Energy Investments

Heather Hartley
Release Date

USDA Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall today announced 20 Ohio rural small businesses and agricultural operations are benefitting from $756,000 in Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants awarded around the state.

“Combining renewable energy systems such as solar, biomass, and geothermal with conventional sources of energy can help Ohio’s agricultural producers and business owners hold down utility costs; all too often the wild card in the company budget,” said Hall. “Energy efficiency – whether it’s a massive solar array or modest improvements to lighting, insulation, or heating and cooling systems – is good for the bottom line.”

Earlier this week, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy confirmed this round of 640 USDA REAP investments totals $237 million and includes projects in all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Western Pacific.  

In Ohio:

  • Holmes County-based Agri-Sludge will use its $49,950 REAP grant to purchase and install a 127.74 kilowatt solar array. A full-service biosolids management company, Agri-Sludge expects to garner more than $14,800 a year in savings, replacing about 88 percent of the operation’s conventionally-generated electricity.
  • In Tuscarawas County, RNR Enterprises will use its $47,850 REAP grant to purchase and install a 133.65 kilowatt hour solar array. A family-run millwork operation, RNR Enterprises expects to save nearly $18,000 a year, replacing about 17 percent of the operation’s conventionally-generated electricity.
  • Warren County-based Encompass-E, LLC will use its $77,500 REAP grant to purchase and install a 273.6 kilowatt solar array. Encompass-E operates a custom energy solution business which expects to see a savings of more than $56,800 a year, replacing about 90 percent of its conventionally-generated electricity.

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