Workshops to help farmers and small businesses with energy grants

Champaign—Help is available to farmers, cooperatives and rural small businesses interested in applying for grants to purchase renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Virtual workshops will be held at 11 sites around the state Wednesday, June 2 to help applicants vie for $22.8 million in energy grants available nationally from USDA Rural Development.

The Web-based workshops scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. will be held in Bloomington, Carbondale, Champaign, Edwardsville, Kankakee, Macomb, Moline, Princeton, Robinson, Rock Falls and Winchester. Eligible applicants can check the USDA Rural Development homepage at for details on location and whom to call to register.

Participants will get an overview of grant requirements, tips on preparing their applications and a chance to ask questions. They will also hear about additional funding sources available from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The grant application deadline is July 19.

“We’ve assembled a strong network of resources to help applicants with advice and matching funds,” said Rural Development State Director Doug Wilson. “We want to encourage rural businesses and farmers to take advantage of the grant program and the workshops. Numerous organizations are ready to help them prepare their applications.”

The energy program was authorized by Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill. Last year, $2.1 million was granted to Illinois recipients. Changes in this year’s program are making it easier to use and give smaller agricultural producers special consideration.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency are good for the rural economy,” said Wilson. “This program spurs investments that can result in lower energy bills, greater profit margins and economic opportunity for farmers and rural small businesses.”

Questions about the 9006 energy grant program and workshops can be directed to Cathy Glover at (217) 403-6210 or PatrickLydic at (217) 403-6211.

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