USDA Will Fund Rural Energy Grants

REAP Grants to Fund Energy Audits and Assistance for Farms and Rural Businesses

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to make some $2.4 million in grant funds available to state, tribal and local government, land-grant colleges or universities, rural electric cooperatives, and public power entities to help farmers and rural businesses cut energy waste and develop clean energy production. Under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) those entities will offer energy audit and renewable energy development assistance programs to assist individual agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

"For the first time ever, USDA will make grant funding available this year through the Rural Energy for America Program to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses obtain audits to identify ways to improve energy efficiency" said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "The assistance provided by this program is in keeping with President Obama's energy conservation goals for our nation."

REAP is a new program that was added to the 2008 Farm Bill, and a single applicant can receive up to $100,000. The USDA has announced a notice of solicitation with a deadline of June 9, 2009 for submitting applications.

Individual agricultural producers and rural small business are not eligible for this grant program, but can apply to those who do recieve these grants to get an energy audit. A 25% cost matching is required from the individual or business recieving an energy audit from a grantee.

Farm Energy Online provides a comprehensive overview of the program as well as the important highlights of the program and the materials that must be included in the application. Information on the REAP program is available from the USDA Rural Development web site. Applications will be accepted at State Rural Development Offices or at .

REAP does provide funding opportunities for individual agricultural producers and rural small businesses under a program that offers financial assistance for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. However, the applications have not been announced for this program yet. Check back at for more updates as they are made public.