USDA Announces Grants to Fund Energy Efficiency Improvements for Maryland Ag Producers
Westminster, Md.- November 9, 2010 –Maryland Rural Development State Director Jack Tarburton announced that USDA is providing grants to state agriculture producers for energy and energy efficiency projects. Tarburton made the announcement yesterday at Sunnyside Farms, Inc., a chicken and egg production facility in Carroll County. Sunnyside will receive a $220,500 grant from USDA for a solar energy generating system. The funding is provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was authorized in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
"This project is promoting the Obama Administration's efforts to transition to a renewable energy economy," said Tarburton. "It is good for business, good for the economy, creates jobs and it promises a reduction in energy consumption. Most importantly, it is helping to keep farmers on the farm, and offers opportunities for the next generation of farmers."
The grant to Sunnyside represents approximately 25 percent of the total cost of the new solar energy system that is on a site adjacent to the operation's chicken egg barns. A total of 936 solar panels of 220 watts each make up the grid-tied array. The total land space covered is approximately one acre. Other funding participants include MidAtlantic Farm Credit Administration.
Because the solar electrical system is expected to produce approximately 25 percent of the power used by the farm, Sunnyside also qualifies for a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration; in addition to a 30 percent Federal Investment Tax Credit and Renewable Energy Credits. State officials say it is the largest farm-based, grid-tied, ground-mounted solar system in Maryland.
Tarburton announced grants totaling $747,994 for 13 Maryland recipients. The funding includes support to help farmers and rural small businesses make energy efficiency improvements to their operations.
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.
Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. Listed below is a complete list of Maryland REAP recipients announced today.
Sunnyside Farms, Inc., Westminster - $220,500 solar power system
John N. Sussman, Westminster - $19,999 grain dryer replacement
Taylor and Sons, Berlin - $14,432 grain dryer replacement
Wirtz & Daughters, Inc., Joppa - $19,169 solar power system
USDA Rural Development has more than 40 loan, grant and loan guarantee programs that support agriculture, business opportunities, home ownership, home repair, rental housing broadband technology, public safety, health care, education, social and cultural needs and energy related projects. Additional information on rural programs is available by calling the Hagerstown Area Office that serves Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Washington Counties at (301) 797-0500 ext. 5. Visit Rural Development's website at www.rurdev.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).