USDA Invests in Critical Infrastructure to Lower Costs, Create Jobs, and Combat Climate Change Across Rural America

By: USDA Office of Communications

Department Makes Funding Available Under the Inflation Reduction Act to Expand Renewable Energy in Rural Communities
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA is investing $285 million in critical infrastructure to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy for people across rural America, and combat climate change (PDF, 920 KB). USDA is also making an additional $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program, including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act, to spur further investment.
“People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country’s resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. These investments underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to providing funding and resources to rural people and communities across the country to help drive economic security and prosperity.”
USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower energy costs.
These funds will help people living in 46 states. Some examples include:
Pennsylvania’s Meadow Ridge Farms, LLC will use a $98,500 grant to purchase and install a 187-kilowatt (kW) ground-mount solar energy system. Meadow Ridge is a poultry operation that has been providing fertile eggs for flu vaccine production for more than 10 years. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $17,000 per year and replace 247,071 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 22 homes annually.In Alabama, H & E Farms, LLC will use a $10,140 grant to install a new oxygen monitoring system which will control pond aeration systems for five catfish production ponds. This system will optimize the pond aeration process by introducing computer controllers into the process. The new system will allow the farm to reduce its energy consumption by 35 percent. This is the equivalent of 56,160 kWh and 878 gallons of diesel fuel per year, which is enough to power five homes and fuel one vehicle for a year.Marzen Family Farms, LLC., will use a $16,000 grant to install a more energy-efficient grain drying system for drying corn on the grain and livestock farm near Stacyville, Iowa. This project is expected to save $8,122 in energy costs per year and 119,570 kWh of energy per year (57 percent of previous use), which is enough energy to power 11 homes.
USDA also announced today that it will make $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects for people living in rural America. This funding includes $250 million provided by the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act. The deadline to apply for grants is March 31, 2023. Applications for technical assistance grants are due Jan. 31, 2023. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.
Interested applicants are encouraged to contact their local USDA Rural Development State Energy Coordinator (PDF, 511 KB) well in advance of the application deadlines to discuss their project and ask any questions about the REAP program or the application process. Additional information on the required materials and how to apply for the REAP program are available in the Dec 15, 2022, Federal Register (PDF, 291 KB).
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