WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2014--Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide.

As part of the Rural Energy for America Program, the money aids farmers and landowners in developing renewable energy and making energy efficiency improvements . REAP was created by the 2008 Farm Bill and was reauthorized by the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

“USDA is proud to play a key role in Obama Administration’s efforts to promote the use of solar technologies," Vilsack said. "Of the REAP projects funded today, 240 projects are for solar investments of $5.2 million in grants and $55.3 million in loans.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said rural energy programs are critical for job creation in rural areas.

“Through these investments, farmers will be able to install energy efficiency upgrades to their operations to cut energy costs,” she said. They will be empowered to harness the energy potential of American grown agriculture – by developing innovative systems to fuel and grow their businesses.”

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