USDA announces $266 million in REAP loans and grants
The USDA is investing $266 million in renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects across 47 states through the Rural Energy for American Program. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement during the recent Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL. “To help farmers lower their costs in terms of their own power needs and also potentially create more revenue on the farm,” he says.
$118 million came from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. With nearly $2 billion in the fund, Vilsack says he anticipates several more announcements in the future, creating additional income opportunities for producers. “We’ve got a lot more that can be done and needs to be done,” he says. “The challenge is making sure that nobody decides to redirect those resources away from the from the use that they were intended under the IRA, because that is what’s going to continue to support climate-smart agriculture.”
Vilsack says the loans and grants will help many farm families diversify their revenue, addressing one of the biggest challenges facing producers today. “Seven and a half percent of our farming populations in the country, those farms received 89% of the farm income,” he says. “I wasn’t good at math, but I was good enough to know that that means that nearly 2 million farmers in the country today shared the other 11%.”
More than 1,300 projects will be funded, including the installation of several renewable energy systems helping to create additional income for farms. One example is D&M Farm Ventures, a chicken broiler operation in Quarryville, Pennsylvania that will use a grant to install a solar photovoltaic system that is expected to generate an additional $10,000 in revenue for the farm annually.