Agricultural producers and rural small businesses who are trying to complete energy efficiency and renewable energy projects may be able to get help through the USDA's Rural Energy for American Program (REAP).
Funding is available from USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill. In 2011, Kansas had 23 small businesses and 18 agricultural producers receive REAP grants totaling nearly $800,000.
"Renewable energy development presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America," said USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This funding will assist rural farmers, ranchers and business owners to build renewable energy projects, providing opportunities for new technologies, create green jobs, and help America become more energy self-sufficient."
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation's critical energy needs. For 2012, USDA has approximately $25.4 million budget authority available to fund REAP activities, which will support at least $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loan program level awards. USDA is accepting the following applications:
Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until March 30;
Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications on a continuous basis up to June 29;
Renewable energy system feasibility study applications through March 30; and
Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications through February 21.
"The REAP program has assisted Kansas agricultural producers and small businesses by providing financing for converting to energy efficient irrigation systems; installing energy efficient equipment, lighting and windows; and developing new renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal," stated USDA Rural Development Business Programs Director Karissa Berks. "The energy savings that the REAP projects have shown is tremendous, and we look forward to helping innovative Kansas agricultural producers and small businesses with reducing their energy needs."
At Secretary Vilsack's direction, USDA is working to develop the national biofuels industry producing energy from non-food sources in every region of the country. USDA is conducting and encouraging research into innovative new energy technologies and processes, helping companies build biorefineries – including the first ever commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities – and supporting farmers, ranchers, and businesses taking risks to pursue new opportunities in biofuels. Along with Federal partners, USDA is establishing an aviation biofuels economy, and has expedited rules and efforts to promote production and commercialization of biofuels.
To obtain more information about the REAP program, please contact the following USDA Rural Development Area Office Specialist located in your area.
Doug Bruggeman – Hays USDA RD Office, 785-628-3081, Ext. 4, [email protected]
Larry Holz – Manhattan USDA RD Office, 785-776-7582, Ext. 4, [email protected]
Katie Casper – Iola USDA RD Office, 620-365-2901, Ext.4, [email protected]
Doug Clary – Newton USDA RD Office, 316-283-0370, Ext. 4, [email protected]
For additional information regarding other USDA Rural Development programs visit the Agency's website http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/KS, or call the Agency's state office at 785-271-2700.