USDA seeks applications for renewable energy, energy efficiency projects

Staff Report

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced another opportunity to go greener and cut energy costs with support from the agency’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The program has helped 290 agricultural producers and rural small businesses in Illinois since it was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Jan. 20 that USDA is seeking applications for grants and loans for a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Renewable energy development presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” said Vilsack. “This funding will assist rural farmers, ranchers and business owners to build renewable energy projects, providing opportunities for new technologies, create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient.”

REAP is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation’s critical energy needs. This year, USDA will be able to award at least $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in loan guarantees. USDA is accepting the following applications:

renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until March 30;

renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications on a continuous basis up to June 29;

renewable energy system feasibility study applications through March 30; and

energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications through Feb. 21.

More about how to apply for funding is available in the Jan. 20, 2012, Federal Register, pages 2,948 through 2,954. Questions in Illinois can be directed to Mary Warren at or by calling her at (217) 403-6218.

From the Jan. 25-31, 2012, issue

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