Using REAP. I'm Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.
REAP is a very flexible program that can assist many different ag producers and rural businesses with developing renewable energy programs for their individual operations. Crystal Kaster, owner of Crystal Gardens of Idaho is one small business owner that has applied for a grant under the Renewable Energy for America Program.
KASTER: I have greenhouses right now and currently heating them with propane and I'm in the process of getting a geothermal permit, a non-consumptive use permit which would take the place of the propane and hopefully be a lot more economical for me.
Kaster's 3 greenhouses provide hanging baskets, bedding plants and containers for farmer's markets in the Boise and Ketchum areas. In looking for ways to save money on her heating bills Kaster discovered the program.
KASTER: When I was in the process of applying for the permit I found out through one of the engineers that there was the REAP program and I called Brian Buch through Rural Development in Boise and he just steered me in the right direction. He hooked me up with a grant writer and from there it was pretty simple.
Applying for government programs can be a very daunting task and it is important to have a good idea of where you are. Kaster says at least in her case it was a pretty easy process. Now it is time to wait since her application is in the pipeline.
KASTER: You apply for the grant first before you do any of the actual work and one you are approved then you have 24 months to finish the project. At that time of completion is when the grant will be sent to you.
Which means you need to have money in place to complete the project. A lot of rural businesses are looking at small projects like Crystal Gardens geothermal heating project with things like solar panels or small wind turbines to offset energy costs.
KASTER: I'm serious about trying to find a different heating source than propane. A couple of years ago it was real high and it went back down but I'm sure in the future it will go back up again and it's a major part of my costs so anything I can do to save on that I'm going to try it.
For additional information on clean energy, visit harvestcleanenergy.org. That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.