by Ben Nuelle LISTEN: Money Matters 7-14-16
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding for 821 projects across the nation. The funding will help rural small businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy usage and costs in their operations.
The funding is available through the Rural Energy for America Program or (REAP) and will be used to make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems.
Bill Menner is State Director for USDA Rural Development in Iowa.
“The REAP program has been around for more than a dozen years now providing grants and loans to small businesses and rural communities to help them make investments in energy efficiency or renewable energy. In all the years the REAP program has existed, Iowa has been the most productive state in the country and that’s the case again this year.”
Menner says the money can be used for a variety of programs.
“If you are a small business in a small town you could use a REAP grant to replace store windows or light in your store to make them more energy efficient. You could also put a solar panel on the roof. If you are a farmer, you could use it for a high energy efficient grain dryer, put up a wind turbine or put geothermal in your barn.
Menner says anything that helps improve the bottom line for a small business in a rural community by reducing their energy costs is a good fit for the REAP program.
USDA is providing $43.2 million in loan guarantees and $11.6 million in grants through REAP for projects in every state, as well as in the Virgin Islands, the Western Pacific and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant.