Administrator Sam Rikkers (left) discusses the Central City Solar Garden Project with (L-R) City Administrator Chris Anderson, Cliff Mesner of Mesner Development Company (with his back to the camera), and Bill Sheppard and Jeff Carpenter of USDA Rural Development’s Nebraska offices.
USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program, commonly referred to as ‘REAP’, provides financial resources for rural agricultural producers and small businesses to help them improve their bottom line. REAP provides loan guarantees and small grants to support these producers and owners as they improve the energy efficiency of their operations and develop renewable energy sources.
Today, Secretary Vilsack announced hundreds of new projects like the one I visited over the summer in Central City, Nebraska. It exemplifies the strategic thinking our rural communities use daily to find new ways to prosper. A community just shy of 3,000 residents, Central City is home to the first community solar garden project ever developed in Nebraska. Read more »
Deputy Secretary Lillian Salerno speaks with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe at the commissioning of BARC’s new solar project in Rockbridge, Virginia
Many people in this country would love to use solar or other types of renewable energy in their homes, but barriers may exist to stifle interest in small-scale renewable energy implementation.
Not everyone has the roof space, the sunlight, or the money for a solar energy project. Not everyone has the weather or the local know-how for a wind energy project. The list could go on, but any hurdles such a list might include will no longer hinder the residents of Rockbridge, Bath, Highland, Augusta and Alleghany, Virginia, from realizing their goal of using clean energy in their homes. Read more »
Bear Mountain Forest Products plant owner Bob Sourek in Oregon produces BBQ pellets and home heating fuel pellets. Bear Mountain Bear Bricks (similar to firewood logs), and animal bedding are produced at the Cascade Locks facility.
One of the hallmarks of the Obama Administration has been our commitment to economic growth through an expanding bio-based economy. Nowhere is that transformation more pronounced than the success of renewable energy. And USDA Rural Development has been a leader in that effort.
The proof is in the numbers: Domestic energy-related emissions have fallen to their lowest level in 20 years. Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 40-year low and declining. In the last eight years, USDA has helped lead an effort to promote the domestic production and use of advanced biofuels and biobased products, supporting millions of jobs and pumping hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars into the U.S. economy. Read more »
Administrator Sam Rikkers tours the lumber yard with CJ Logging Equipment and 3B Timber President, Mark Bourgeois.
Focusing on international markets, renewable energy and a community’s inherent assets, rural businesses find dynamic paths to prosperity. To see this in action, I headed to Boonville, New York.
Mark Bourgeois was born and raised in Boonville and today is President of CJ Logging Equipment and 3B Timber. A stable employer in the region, 3B Timer processes softwood trees on-site into utility poles. 3B Timber utilized Rural Development’s Business & Industry (B&I) loan guarantee to expand their operations. As Mark explained, his company now exports 80% of its poles to Canada, expanding international trade and supporting job creation in the region and state. Read more »
Joel Olson (left), President of O2 Energies, Inc. of North Carolina speaks with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff in front of one of O2's solar projects. O2 worked with local North Carolina lender Surrey Bank & Trust and USDA Rural Development to finance the project.
USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP as we call it, is one of the flagship programs found in the energy title of the Farm Bill. Through REAP, USDA helps rural agricultural producers and small businesses improve their financial bottom line through increased energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.
We wanted to share two great examples of this investment and development in North Carolina. In Mt. Airy, NC, local lenders took advantage of REAP’s loan guarantees to finance O2 Energies and build a solar farm that can provide up to 20% of the power needed by the community. Read more »
Solar panels atop the storage units outside E&S Mart in Altavista.
This week in Virginia, USDA Rural Development announced eight Rural Energy for America (REAP) grants totaling $107,500.
It’s always an honor to award REAP grants because they help Virginia’s rural businesses by rewarding innovation. The REAP program helps rural businesses and agricultural producers save money, make their operations more energy efficient, and protect the environment. Read more »