I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
The application deadline for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, which was extended to May 31st, is just days away now. REAP began in 2003 and is designed to help producers and rural small business owners install and modify energy efficient measures. Kelley Oehler of USDA’s Rural Development explains how the extension came about.
OEHLER: The extension came about because of the passage of the continuing resolution that happened the last week of March. We basically had our funding announcement at the Federal Register for Publication when the continuing resolution was passed. It actually removes some restrictive language that was contained in the prior year appropriations bill and with the restrictive language removed the funding that was available for the program from the 2008 farm bill actually became available and was released I guess would be the best way to say it, so that we could actually increase the dollar amount for the program for fiscal year 2013.
Oehler talks about how dairy farmers have utilized the Rural Energy for America Program.
OEHLER: Some of the things that we’ve seen dairy farmers use REAP for are to make modifications - energy efficiency improvements to their milking parlors and milking operations. They basically will replace vacuum pumps with more efficient vacuum pumps and they can show a reduction in energy using that, and then also REAP can be on the renewable side as well.
Oehler says there are two components of the REAP program, a guaranteed loan component and a grant component, which ag producers can access. For more information contact your local USDA service center.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.