The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
The announcement is one part of the department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
REAP, authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, (Farm Bill) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation's critical energy needs. USDA is accepting the following applications:
• Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until April 30, 2013;
• Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications until July 15, 2013;
• Renewable energy system feasibility study grant applications through April 30, 2013.
More information on how to apply for funding is available in the March 29, 2013 Federal Register, pages 19183-19190: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/MO-9007_REAP_NOFA_03292013.pdf. Additional information concerning the REAP program in Missouri can be located at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/MO-REAP.html. Questions can be directed to the Missouri Business Programs Section at 573-876-9321.
Janie Dunning, Missouri Rural Development State Director commented, "We are all aware of rising energy costs. The REAP program responds to the impact of these costs in rural areas by, not only reducing consumption, but by allowing agricultural producers and small business owners to realize savings which can then be reinvested in their facilities, equipment, inventory, product or staff."
Since the passage of the 2008 Farm Bill and through the end of Fiscal Year 2012, REAP has funded nationwide over 6,800 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, feasibility studies, energy audits, and renewable energy development assistance projects.
In Missouri, examples include Hometown Fuel, Inc. in Mercer County which received a grant to finance flex fuel dispensers for a new fuel station offering renewable fuel blends (both ethanol and biodiesel) to area consumers. Also, Patriot Metal Manufacturing, LLC in Stoddard County received a grant to assist with energy efficiency improvements to the company's manufacturing facility.