Skip to main content

REAP: Working Well in North Carolina

Posted by Sam Rikkers, Administrator, Rural Business and Cooperative Service in Energy Rural
Jun 29, 2016
Joel Olson (left), President of O2 Energies, Inc. of North Carolina speaking with USDA staff
Joel Olson (left), President of O2 Energies, Inc. of North Carolina speaks with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff in front of one of O2's solar projects. O2 worked with local North Carolina lender Surrey Bank & Trust and USDA Rural Development to finance the project.

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP as we call it, is one of the flagship programs found in the energy title of the Farm Bill. Through REAP, USDA helps rural agricultural producers and small businesses improve their financial bottom line through increased energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.

We wanted to share two great examples of this investment and development in North Carolina. In Mt. Airy, NC, local lenders took advantage of REAP’s loan guarantees to finance O2 Energies and build a solar farm that can provide up to 20% of the power needed by the community.

In Mt. Olive, NC, Doug Jernigan used the REAP program to turn his farm’s animal waste into energy.  Generating power from poop, Mr. Jernigan puts the energy created back into the grid and offsets the costs associated his ranching operation.

Ultimately, through our loans, grants, and loan guarantees, the USDA REAP program is having a positive impact across the nation - not just by reducing fossil fuel impact and the carbon footprint of rural small businesses and producers - but by supporting jobs and economic investment in the rural communities we serve.

Category/Topic: Energy Rural