This month, I had the opportunity to travel to New Paltz, New York and visit with Peter Ferrante of Wallkill View Farm. Mr. Ferrante received funding through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to install a solar array on the rooftop of his farmers market in the Hudson Valley. REAP provides financing for renewable energy systems and can help agricultural producers or rural small businesses improve energy efficiency with new equipment and systems.
Mr. Ferrante’s solar array was just one of the many REAP projects funded over the years. In August, USDA announced $121 million in renewable energy investments to combat climate change. New York received more than $11 million across nine projects throughout rural communities. During my trip, I got to see Mr. Ferrante’s operations and experience firsthand the benefits of this investment. The REAP program not only addresses the effects of global warming but also decreased the Wallkill View Farm’s utility costs and made their Green Houses more sustainable.
“We’ve been really happy with the project so far,” Peter Ferrante said. “I am very pleased that we decided to do it. It’s been an economic savings for the farm in that our utility bill is lower. Generating electricity through environmentally friendly means is a positive thing – so we feel like we are contributing and doing our part in having a green source for the electricity that we use here on the farm.”
USDA Rural Development programs like REAP supports President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. The Act includes the largest ever federal investment in clean energy with $14 billion in funding for USDA programs for the expansion of biofuels and to help rural businesses and electric cooperatives transition to renewable energy and zero-emission systems.
To learn more about REAP, visit the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) page on the USDA Rural Development website. If you have questions about USDA Rural Development programs, contact our State Office in Syracuse, New York at (315) 477-6400, ext 4. You can also follow us on Twitter at @RD_NewYork.