USDA Helps Farmers, Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs
CO: Shop-All Inc. $12,783 This Rural Development investment will be used to retrofit all old and inefficient fluorescent, incandescent, Halogen, HPS and MH light fixtures throughout this rural grocery store with new, efficient LED fixtures. These energy efficiency improvements will reduce the current electrical usage by 113,276 annually, which is a 59 percent reduction, and equivalent to the annual electrical usage for 12 homes. It will also reduce this rural small business’ electric bill by $11,441 annually.
CO: Darvin Meurisse $6,879 This Rural Development investment will be used to install an 11kW solar system. This project will replace 94 percent of their current electrical usage. This will save the borrower approximately $2,000 annually
“Lowering energy costs helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to increasing economic development in rural communities across the country through strong partnerships with rural businesses.”
USDA is providing the grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration, for example.
Here are examples of how some of the recipients will use their grants:
In Utah, Kent Kelly & Associates LC will use a $19,920 grant to replace three refrigeration unit compressors and computer controls with more energy-efficient models. This project is expected to save the company $3,467 per year and lower consumption by 53,280 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. The company leases retail space to a grocery store in Brigham City, Utah.
Treat’s Squire Shop in Plymouth, Ind., is receiving a $1,500 grant to install LED lighting throughout the building. The firm sells men’s clothing and bridal attire. This project will lower energy costs by $4,081 and reduce energy use by 54,911 kWh (76 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power five homes.
The University of Oregon will use a $100,000 grant to help rural agritourism operations and small businesses implement renewable energy systems. Working under a contract with the nonprofit Spark Northwest, the university will help install solar photovoltaic, wind, small hydro, biodigester and solar thermal renewable energy systems. Overall, this project will help approximately 40 rural businesses, primarily in the ag sector, reduce their monthly utility bills.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.