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Secretary’s Column: Renewable Energy in Your Community

Over the past three years, USDA has taken important steps to help meet President Obama’s goal of building a secure energy future for our nation. We’ve helped back the science, research and planning to expand production of biofuels and other bio-based products. We’ve supported farmers and entrepreneurs working to produce renewable energy or become more energy efficient.

We want Americans to learn about our good work and also to see how their community can get involved in an expanding renewable energy and bio-based economy that is creating jobs and driving economic growth across rural America.

So this week, USDA launched a new energy website to serve as a one-stop shop for data about energy efficiency and renewable energy programs at USDA. It builds on my commitment to make sure that USDA is using the most up-to-date technology to deliver modern and efficient service.

In today’s competitive rural business environment, we need to help farmers, ranchers and small businesses learn about funding opportunities to improve their bottom line with energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts. A great way for them to get started is by visiting

The new energy website provides access to all USDA energy resources, including agricultural, forestry, economic, and social data. A set of new web-based tools, including a Renewable Energy Investment Map and an Energy Matrix, focus on USDA’s investments and projects, providing useful information to a broad spectrum of stakeholders. It makes it easy to navigate USDA’s energy resources. In addition, the site provides a link so you can find energy experts in USDA’s state and local offices.

Every day, USDA is investing in rural communities across the country to drive job growth and a better future for the middle class.  And sometimes, we hear from our customers about the need to reduce red tape and modernize our services. This energy website helps answer that challenge: making the best use of taxpayer resources to help provide the best possible service to the American people.

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit the website at

You can also find the audio version of the weekly message here.

One Response to “Secretary’s Column: Renewable Energy in Your Community”

  1. Frank J. Heller, MPA says:

    Last year, ONTARIO started over 30 farm based anaerobic digesters. WOW….they just decided to ‘do it’ and created a support/funding/t.a. structure and got it done, even imported a German training program for operators.

    That’s more than USDA has done in decades of talk.

    Is there any reason you can use or adapt the Ontario model?

    As someone who has consulted with dairy/beef farmers in Maine on anaerobic digester; I would suggest that every new dairy barn built that you have a financial interest in, has the capacity to incorporate a digester into it including solar panels to heat liquids, manure scrapes, mix & heating pits for digester slurries, gravity fed digester tanks, external gas processing and storage, and an external dewatering shed.

    Making the digester a capital cost; and linking it with operator training—-Ontario imported a course from Germany and it attracts people from all over N. America.

    Train farm managers, integrate the digester into daily operation of the farm, and provide a smooth path to selling the end products….bio-gas, CO2, liquid fertilizer, soil conditioners and potentially processing other organics,like Chicken manure, sewerage sludge, septage, wood waste, fats, glycerine, etc.

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