Undersecretary of Rural Development Dallas Tonsager attended the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. on Wednesday and took the opportunity to announce on behalf of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack that $13 million being provided to 233 renewable energy projects in 38 states through the Rural Energy for America Program.
"I am a big promoter and believer in alternative energy," Tonsager said. "The more we can do with ethanol, with biodiesel fuels, with crops created from biomass, from wind energy, from all sources, the better off we can do to serve rural America."
Tonsager says they want to look for opportunities for economic return for producers of commodities as well as economic return for people who live in rural communities.
Rural Development has 42 programs and will be distributing something over $40 billion this year combining the regular funding programs and the stimulus money given them by Congress.
Tonsager says Rural Development works on everything from repairs of low income housing to building energy plants and water systems. Most recently they have been taking applications for the broadband telecommunications program, which should begin being awarded very shortly.
"It's a remarkable opportunity to be in this role, to work with state directors, to work with all of you and to spend time traveling around and understanding rural America as well as possible," Tonsager said.