Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced funding for 631 projects across the nation that will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Grant and loan funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program, which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.
With this announcement, the USDA is making investments of more than $21 million in energy projects nationwide. Despite budget uncertainties, USDA remains focused on strengthening the rural economy.
"As part of the Obama Administration's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, USDA continues to work with America's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to help them save energy and improve their bottom line," Vilsack said. "This program and others like it would not be available without a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, and again I urge members of Congress to pass a bill when they return to Washington next month."
REAP helps producers reduce energy costs and increase production efficiency. For example, nine entities were awarded grants in West Virginia:
- Waterstone, Inc., in Fayette County will use a $24,401 grant to install energy efficiency improvements in their retail office building located in Fayetteville.
- Malcolm Farms in Hardy County will use a $29,848 grant to establish solar panels on their poultry farm to assist in energy generation of on-farm operations.
- Caperton Furnitureworks LLC located in Morgan County will use a $75,000 grant to provide energy-efficiency improvements to the their manufacturing facility.
- Patrick and Mary Ellen Cassidy DBA will use a $50,000 grant to assist in the installation of energy-efficiency improvements in the First State Capitol building located in Wheeling.
- Alyeska Inc. (also known as Big Bear Lake Campground), located in Preston County will use a $47,593 grant to create energy-efficiency improvements at the campground.
- Court Street Properties, LLC, in Fayette County will use a $4,101 grant to assist in the installation of energy-efficiency improvements in the Hamilton Building located in Fayetteville.
- South ill Creek Farm in Grant County will use a $2,778 grant to make energy-efficiency improvements to their operations.
- Mountaineer Stairworks in Hardy County will use a $3,900 grant to assist in the installation of a wood-fired broiler heating system in the company's manufacturing facility.
- David Downs DBA, located in Tucker County, will use an $18,442 grant to assist in the installation of energy-efficiency improvements in the Thayer Building located in Thomas.
Farmers, ranchers, business owners and agriculture producers in 41 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will also receive funding.