Sec. Vilsack announces 186 renewable energy & energy efficiency loans & grants

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Des Moines, IA, Aug. 17 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that USDA Rural Development is providing $23.4 million in loans and grants for 186 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Speaking at the Iowa State Fair, Vilsack said “President Obama and I are committed to helping our nation become energy independent by helping rural businesses become more energy efficient. This funding will not only help our farmers and small businesses reduce energy costs, but also become more efficient and competitive.”

Among the recipients, Primus Farms, Inc. of Grundy, IA will receive a $23,162 grant and a $23,162 loan to replace an outdated grain dryer with a new, highly efficient grain dryer projected to cut energy costs 55%. In Franklin, MA, Berkshire East Ski Area has been selected for a $1.5 million guaranteed loan to assist rural small businesses in developing a renewable energy system. This project will fund a large wind energy generation system that will offset the firm's energy use and provide a portion for sale.

USDA energy efficiency programs often yield double digit energy savings. The Glen Coble & Sons, Inc., ranch in Mullen, NE reduced its electricity draw from the local utility by 30 percent after it received a $14,725 USDA Rural Development grant in 2008 to install five wind turbines.

REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, energy audits, and renewable energy development assistance. More information on the REAP program, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is at:

Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement. For the complete list of REAP recipients announced Tuesday, go to:

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