USDA invites applications for loans, grants to support renewable energy
Kansas Rural Development State Director Patty Clark announced that U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking applications from rural small businesses and agricultural producers for funding to make energy efficiency improvements or to install renewable energy systems.
The funding announced is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Investments from programs like REAP help support the true engine of America’s economic growth—a thriving middle class. REAP is one of many USDA programs and initiatives to support an expanded domestic energy economy. In addition to helping to increase renewable energy production, USDA makes investments in the bioeconomy, provides support for the emerging biobased products industry, supports new technologies, and supports energy efficiency improvements.
“USDA Rural Development works with farmers, ranchers and businesses to create jobs and stronger rural communities – and our investments in renewable energy are a great new revenue stream that is strengthening America’s rural economy,” Clark said. “USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program is an important element of financing for those rural Kansas businesses and agricultural producers looking to invest in renewable energy or energy efficient units.”
REAP funding has helped farmers expand renewable energy use in recent years. The new Census of Agriculture shows the number of farms utilizing renewable energy production has doubled in the last five years. More than 57,000 farms reported using a renewable energy system in 2012, while 23,451 operations reported doing so in 2007. Solar panels accounted for 63 percent of renewable energy systems on farms, with 36,331 farms reporting their use.
Created by the 2008 farm bill, REAP was reauthorized by the recently passed 2014 farm bill. For fiscal year 2014, USDA plans to award up to $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loan guarantees. Additional REAP funds provided by the farm bill will be made available with a subsequent notice.
USDA is accepting applications for:
Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantee and grant combinations;
Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement loan guarantees; and
Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grants.
Requests for grants may not exceed 25 percent of a project’s cost—either for stand-alone grant requests or for grants combined with loan guarantees. The application deadline for grant or combination grant and guaranteed loan is July 7. Those applicants that are only requesting guaranteed loan funds have an application deadline of July 31.
REAP funding is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies to create opportunities for growth and prosperity, support innovative technologies, identify new markets for agricultural producers, and better utilize our nation’s natural resources.
For information on how to apply for REAP funding, contact a USDA Rural Development business program specialist in Kansas: Doug Bruggeman, Hays office, 785-628-3081, Ext. 1435, firstname.lastname@example.org; Katie Casper, Iola office, 620-365-2901, Ext. 1427, email@example.com; and David Kramer, Topeka office, 785-271-2700, Ext. 2736, firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $199.3 billion in loans and loan guarantees. 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.