Press Release: Biden-Harris Administration Invests $266 Million to Help Rural Business Owners, Farmers and Ranchers Lower Energy Costs, Generate Income, and Expand Operations, as Part of Investing in America Agenda
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is awarding $266 million in loans and grants to agriculture producers and rural small businesses to make investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operation. This funding is made possible in part by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis.
“Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” Secretary Vilsack said. “A key pillar of Bidenomics, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is ensuring our producers and business owners are not only a part of the clean energy economy but are directly benefitting from it. These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”
USDA is investing $266 million in 1,334 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in 47 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The Department is awarding the loans and grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), including funding from the landmark Inflation Reduction Act.
Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Eligible applicants include rural small business owners and agricultural producers. The program is part of the Justice40 Initiative, which is working to ensure that 40 percent of the benefits of certain federal investments reach communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution and underinvestment.
The funding announced today is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to grow the American economy from the middle-out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good-paying jobs and building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
- Verde Light Community Solar LLC in Ontario, Oregon will use a $1 million grant to purchase and install a 4.51-megawatt solar photovoltaic renewable energy system. The new system will produce enough energy to power 440 homes per year and is expected to generate $557,000 in income annually for the company.
- D & M Farm Ventures LLC, a chicken broiler operation in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, will use a $130,500 grant to purchase and install a 198-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. This project is expected to generate approximately $10,800 per year.
- Leonard Road Thorndike Solar LLC in Thorndike, Maine will use a $1 million grant to install a 1.58-megawatt solar array expected to offset over 950,700 pounds of coal, reducing carbon emissions by 859 metric tons annually. This project will also help the business generate nearly $358,000 annually.
USDA is making awards in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming, Guam and Puerto Rico.
The Department expects to make additional awards in the coming months.
USDA continues to accept applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes $144.5 million for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.
Photo courtesy of Joseph D’Mello.