Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has invited agricultural producers and rural small businesses to apply for loans and grants to implement renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.
In addition, the program also provides funding to complete feasibility studies for renewable energy generation systems and energy efficiency improvements. For information on how to apply for assistance, contact Steven Epstein in the Concord, New Hampshire office at 603-223-6041. The deadlines for submitting completed REAP applications are June 15 and June 30, depending on the type of project to be funded.
“Biomass, biofuels and other renewable energy sources present an enormous economic opportunity for rural America and the rest of the nation,” Vilsack said. “President Obama and I recognize that we need to win the future by implementing a long-term strategy to meet our country’s current and long-term energy needs. The funding I am announcing today will help make America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses more energy efficient.”
Since Rural Development’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs were launched in 2003, they have played a key role in helping more than 6,000 businesses nationally create jobs and make energy efficiency improvements. Under REAP, local businesses receive assistance to deploy wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy as well as implement energy efficiency projects.
Locally, Wagner Forest Management of Lyme, New Hampshire took advantage of a REAP grant and loan guarantee combination to finance the installation of a solar electric generation system to offset 33% of their company’s office building electrical needs.
Tom Colgan, President of Wagner stated that, “I was very pleased to work with the USDA on our system financing needs. Now that the system is up and running we love it—particularly on the days when the sun is shining!” Christopher Bessette of Yankee Farm Credit in White River Junction provided the loan portion of the financing while USDA RD provided a grant and loan guarantee to Farm Credit.
USDA is providing funding for up to $61 million in guaranteed loans and $42 million in grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funds are available to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $149 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency’s programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.