Graham Applauds USDA Funding for North Florida Rural Energy Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 27, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA is awarding loans and grants to more than 1,100 rural small businesses and agricultural producers, including two in North Florida, to help reduce energy usage and costs in their operations. A grant of $13,171 will be awarded to Adams Farms, in Jackson County, to install a 10KW Solar Electric System, and $103,239 will be awarded to Woodham Peanut Co., in Holmes County, to install a new energy-efficient drying system.

“The Rural Energy for America Program is helping farmers and small businesses save energy and save money,” Rep. Graham said. “This is a win-win for our environment and for North Florida’s rural communities.”

The  USDA is providing $102 million in loan guarantees and $71 million in grants for 1,114 projects financed through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). In total, these projects are expected to generate and/or save 906 million kilowatt hours (KWh) of energy – enough to power more than 83,675 homes for a year and cut carbon pollution by an estimated 455,000 metric tons. That is the equivalent of taking more than 131,500 cars off the road for a year.

“More rural business owners and ag producers are incorporating energy-saving measures into their business plans,” Vilsack said in a press release. “These actions improve an operation’s bottom line and help reduce its carbon footprint. This funding will help incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology and reduce energy costs. But beyond the local benefits seen by a company saving energy costs and the global benefits of reducing carbon emissions, this funding will also create American jobs by supporting energy production and efficiency installations that are made in rural America.”

Congress created the REAP program in the 2002 Farm Bill. Because of the success of the program, Congress reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of at least $50 million annually for the duration of the five-year bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past seven years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.

Since 2009, REAP has helped finance 10,753 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that have reduced energy costs for rural businesses nationwide. During this period, USDA has provided almost $360 million in grants and $430 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners. When operational, these projects will generate/save an estimated 8.4 million megawatt hours – enough to power more than 760,000 homes for a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of removing more than 1 million cars from the road.

In addition to the grants announced today, USDA is reminding eligible recipients that the department is accepting applications for future REAP funding. For application deadlines and details on how to apply, contact a USDA state energy coordinator, or see page 60349 of the October 6 Federal Register.

Information contained in this press release from the USDA release, USDA Provides Funding for More Than 1,100 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Nationwide.

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