Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced loans and grants for more than 500 agricultural producers and rural small businesses this month to implement renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures.
“These projects are in addition to the more than 900 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects recently announced during the President's Rural Economic Forum,” Secretary Vilsack said.
The grants and loan guarantees are provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a 2008 Farm Bill initiative. REAP offers funds for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. These funds leverage other funding sources for small businesses. USDA has announced more than $27 million in energy grants and guaranteed loans for projects to date.
United Cooperative, Beaver Dam, WI, is one of the businesses that was selected to receive a REAP grant. This $448,500 will help with the installation cost of 33 ethanol flex-fuel dispensers and 17 biodiesel dispensers. United Cooperative is a full-service cooperative providing feed, grain, agronomy and energy products to farmers and consumers in south-central Wisconsin.
The Obama administration has set a goal of making 10,000 new flex-fuel pumps available to America's drivers within the next five years — five times today’s level. USDA is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a nationwide biofuels industry that creates jobs in every corner of the country.
Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement. Grants can finance up to 25% of a project’s cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewable and $250,000 for efficiency. For a listing of Rural Energy for America Program recipients announced today, click here.