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USDA opens renewable energy grant funding cycle

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division has opened a call for grant applications from organizations to help agricultural producers apply for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funding, intended to reduce energy costs and make energy efficiency improvements in rural areas.

This assistance comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and advances the federal government’s Investing in America agenda to “grow the economy from the middle out and bottom up,” according to a press release.

“President Biden and USDA are ensuring farmers, ranchers and small businesses get a fair chance at grants that make energy more affordable,” said Farah Ahmad, the deputy under secretary for USDA Rural Development.

“We’re giving them the know-how and support they need to be a vital part of the clean energy economy. Through these efforts, people in rural areas will be able to lower their energy costs, increase American energy independence and strengthen the resilience of their business operations,” she said.

Since December 2022, the USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. To support the staff on the ground in this historic effort, the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris worked with USDA Rural Development State Offices to give them more flexibility to award new technical assistance grants through the REAP Technical Assistance Grants Program (REAP TAG), hire additional staff support and bolster their outreach and customer service.

Now, the USDA is making $16 million available through the REAP TAG Program to provide additional support to farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners seeking REAP funds.

Maximiliano J. Trujillo-Ortega, USDA Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico, said eligible grant recipients include state or local governments, colleges and universities, electric cooperatives and utility companies, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Recipients may use the funds to:

  • Help rural agricultural producers and small business owners apply for REAP funding.
  • Provide information on how agricultural producers and business owners can improve the energy efficiency of their operations and use renewable energy technologies and resources.
  • Conduct required energy assessments and audits.
  • Help agricultural producers and small business owners with planning, construction and development of renewable energy or energy efficiency projects.
  • Assist with the completion of environmental reports and/or documentation required for application submission.

Applications must be submitted by March 15 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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