While traveling with President Obama on his Midwest bus tour, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday in Atkinson, Ill., that USDA will provide grants for more than 900 agricultural producers and small businesses for the implementation of renewable energy in their operations.
"These investments enable our farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners to develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements that will save them thousands of dollars in energy costs each year," Vilsack said. "This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration's plan to conserve natural resources, create jobs and lead our country on the path to becoming more energy independent."
In all USDA announced more than $11.6 million in energy grants that will be provided through the Rural Energy for America Program. These federal funds will leverage other funding for farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make improvements to energy efficiency.
Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. Grants can finance up to 25% of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency. For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program grant recipients announced today, please click here.
Yesterday, President Obama hosted the White House Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. The Forum brought together farmers, small business owners, private sector leaders, rural organizations, and government officials to discuss ideas and initiatives to promote economic growth, accelerate hiring, and spur innovation in rural communities nationwide. The President engaged directly with a variety of rural leaders from across the nation to discuss the importance of growing small businesses and strengthening the middle class in rural America.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.