Project Announced to Boost Renewable Energy

TEMPLE, June 27, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has selected 450 projects nationwide, including 10 in Texas, that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

“The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, and protect the environment while strengthening the bottom line for businesses.” said Vilsack. “This is part of the Administration’s “all of the above” energy strategy. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job creation in rural America.”

“We’re pleased to announce these funding awards to rural Texans devoted to implementing projects that will conserve energy,” said Paco Valentin, Texas State Director of USDA Rural Development. “Projects funded through Rural Development’s REAP program reduce our dependence on foreign resources and help America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses become more energy efficient.”

The REAP Program is helping poultry producers in Texas make energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. Five projects in Panola and Shelby Counties will retrofit 23 poultry houses with an estimated energy savings of $44,227 per year in energy costs. Stanaland Farms, Inc. in Nacogdoches County will use their grant to supplement the replacement of six old poultry broiler grower houses with new construction of 3-5 production houses providing more energy savings than improving the existing facility. C.R. Pena Enterprises, LLC in Zapata County also received a REAP grant to be used for energy efficiency improvements to install new supermarket refrigeration unit systems.

411 Energy, LLC 14, located in Wichita Falls, received grant funds to install a 10.8 kW photovoltaic solar system that will generate an estimated 15,428 kWh of electricity for sale annually.

Two projects receiving REAP grants will be replacing existing natural gas irrigation pumps with electric submersible pumps and install electrical wiring into the fields to service the electric pumps. Need It More, LP located in Moore County will be replacing two pumps with an estimated energy savings of $9,131 per year in energy costs. Lewis Flyr will replace three pumps in Sherman County with an estimated $14,496 of annual energy savings.

REAP offers funds for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems, make energy-efficiency improvements, conduct feasibility studies and energy audits, and provide renewable energy development assistance.

These federal funds leverage other funding sources for businesses. In all, USDA announced nearly $7.4 million in energy grants today. This announcement is an example of investments the Obama Administration is making to help create jobs and grow the rural economy.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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