Now is a good time for REAP

Now is a good time for REAP

Now is a Good Time for REAP. I’m Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.

Last Friday the USDA announced that $60 million in grants and loan guarantees will be available for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in 2012. This program has helped finance scores of NW rural clean energy projects, including many stories highlighted on Line on Ag. Don Hollis with USDA Rural Development in Pendleton, OR explains.

HOLLIS: The Rural Energy for America Program again is designed to help ag producers and small rural businesses with doing renewable energy systems and doing energy efficiency improvements to their buildings, their farm out-buildings. Here in the northwest we’ve provided both loan and grant assistance to farmers for putting in anaerobic digesters. We’ve done a number of different small solar projects, especially here in Oregon. We’ve done a lot of energy efficiency improvements.

Hollis has become a bit of an expert on REAP and enjoys working with producers. And he says it is not too late to get applications in.

HOLLIS: This is a very good time. Our funding announcement for the program is probably going to be coming out by the end of March or hopefully no later than the middle of April.

Knowing up front what kinds of projects are or aren’t accepted is a big help and Hollis talks about what you might hear a “No” from.

HOLLIS: Especially for the grant programs a lot of the larger projects that are just going to come in and ask for a $500-thousand dollar grant but there’s not going to be a lot of energy savings or it’s not a commercially available type of technology or it’s just not a feasible type of project. Those are the kind of ones we look at and go, eh. You need to do a little more development.

But if you do have a good idea for a project under the REAP program Hollis says you need to ask questions.

HOLLIS: The absolute best thing for those people to do is call the energy coordinator within that respective state. We do offer some other programs other than the Rural Energy for America Program on the energy side we have the Bio Refineries Assistance Program, we have the Advanced Biofuels Payment Program and the Re-Powering Bio Refineries Program which are three funding announcements that just came out.

Contact Hollis through the USDA Rural Development office in Pendleton. And for additional information on clean energy, visit

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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