"Today's Rural Energy for America Program announcements will
provide further assistance for agricultural producers and rural
small business owners to save energy, promote renewable energy
creation and boost the bottom line for their operation," Vilsack
said. "By investing in clean, renewable energy created in rural
America, USDA is able to provide new income opportunities in our
small towns while supporting the Obama administration's
comprehensive effort to combat the impacts of a changing
Colleen Callahan, Illinois director for Rural
Development, added: "Recipients will use the funding to replace
outdated and inefficient equipment with energy-efficient and
renewable energy technologies. This program reinforces our
efforts to focus on more efficient ways to use our natural
resources, cut costs and, ultimately, provide a boost to the
local rural economy."
Vilsack noted that the funding announcement is another
reminder of the importance of farm bill programs for the
economic vitality of rural America, and a compelling reason why
Congress must get a comprehensive food, farm and jobs bill
passed as soon as possible. A comprehensive new food, farm and
jobs bill would further expand the rural economy.
The Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, offers
financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and rural small
businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and
make energy-efficiency improvements. These federal funds
leverage other private funding sources for businesses.
Vilsack announced more than $14 million in grants and loan
guarantees to business owners in 22 states, the western Pacific,
the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
For example, Adkins Energy in Lena, Ill., received a $500,000
grant to purchase equipment for a new biodiesel plant, which
will be co-located with their current ethanol facility. The
Adkins plant will use corn oil, a byproduct of their ethanol
production, to produce approximately 2 million gallons of
biodiesel per year.
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Another Illinois recipient, River Valley Vineyard in Peru, received
a $12,046 grant to install a geothermal system with vertical wells
to heat and cool the winery's production facility. The facility must
maintain a constant temperature below 65 degrees with low humidity
year-round. Compared with a conventional system, the geothermal
system will save 36 percent in energy usage.
Under REAP, up to 25 percent of an eligible renewable energy
system or energy-efficiency improvement project can be funded
through a grant, and additional support can be provided in the form
of a loan guarantee. Since 2009, REAP has helped fund more than
8,250 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects nationwide and
364 projects in Illinois.
For more information on REAP and for the
list of recipients (PDF) announced Nov. 6, visit the Illinois
Rural Development website at
http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ILHome.html. Each award is contingent
upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant or loan agreement.
USDA Rural Development's investments in housing, community
facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural
America to continue leading the way -- strengthening America's
economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in
rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the
backbone of American values.
[Text from file received from
USDA Rural Development, Illinois]