Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Funds for Ohio Farmers and Rural Businesses
Zanesville, Ohio, Oct. 26, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is providing loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and business owners across Ohio to enable them to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.
"These loan guarantees and grants will generate and save energy for Ohio's farmers and businesses for decades to come," Vilsack said. "Renewable energy systems like the biodigester that generates electricity for this research center are among the many ways USDA is helping the country become more energy independent."
The $6 million in funding announced today is authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) and is administered by USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
Some farm owners have been selected to receive funding to replace older grain dryers with energy efficient models. Others are installing renewable energy systems. For example, French Creek BioEnergy, LLC has been selected for a $500,000 REAP grant and a $1,650,000 guaranteed loan to construct an anaerobic digester that will produce 6.7 million kilowatts of energy annually. In Harrod, Ohio, Harding Wind, LLC has been selected for a $447,500 REAP grant to install a 500 kilowatt wind turbine. It is expected to generate 1.1 million kilowatts of energy annually.
Many rural businesses and farmers in Ohio have already benefited from REAP. Earlier this year, Haber, LLC, a farming operation in Preble County, received a $99,000 guaranteed loan and $49,617 grant to replace an inefficient grain dryer with an energy efficient model. The new dryer will reduce energy costs by an estimated 38 percent.
REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. More information on the REAP program, which was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapResEei.html.
Through its Rural Development mission area, USDA administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and 500 state and local offices. 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. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).