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USDA Invests in Energy Efficiency Improvements and Renewable Energy Systems

Rural Development State Director for Indiana Michael Dora today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding 18 grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for projects throughout Indiana to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.

“USDA is committed to increasing economic development in Indiana’s rural communities,” said Dora. “The projects will use the federal funds to help lower energy costs and improve the business’ bottom line.”

Dora’s announcement is in coordination with Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Bette Brand’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $9.3 million in grants for projects in 49 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks.

Recipients can use REAP funding for a variety of needs, such as conducting energy audits and installing renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. Funds also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Listed below are a few examples of how farmers, rural business owners and institutions are making investments in their operations through REAP.

The 18 successful recipients in Indiana are:

• Adams Swine Farms, LLC in Berne will use a $15,318 grant to purchase and install a grain dryer. The farm is a family owned farming corporation that raises swine. This project is expected to lower the farm’s electricity costs by $5,132 annually.

• JS Farms, Inc. in Delphi will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install a grain dryer. The farm is a family owned grain farming corporation. This project is expected to lower the farm’s electricity costs by $4,992 annually. The energy saved is enough to power 20 homes for a year.

• Darrel G. Erb, operates a family farm that raises oilseed and grain in Francisville, will use a $12,441grant to purchase and install a grain dryer. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $6,840 annually. The energy saved is enough to power 13 homes for a year.

• Home Sweet Home Properties, LLC in Mount Vernon will use a $1,669 grant to purchase and install LED lighting throughout the building. Home Sweet Home Properties, LLC is small business that leases commercial buildings with leased office space to tenants for commercial uses. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $2,406 annually.

• Home Sweet Home Properties, LLC in Mount Vernon will use a $14,109 grant to purchase and install a 22-kW solar array. Home Sweet Home Properties, LLC is small business that leases commercial buildings with leased office space to tenants for commercial uses. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $4,128 annually. The energy saved is enough to power three homes for a year.

• East-Terra Hardware Supply, LLC (dba East-Terra Plastics) in Fayette County will use a $13,429 grant to replace mercury vapor lighting with high efficiency LEDs. Established in 2016, East-Terra Plastics recycles post-consumer and post-industrial plastics. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $10,832 annually. The energy saved is enough to power ten homes for a year.

• Bowman & Bowman Farms, Inc. in Waterloo will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install a 37-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $8,475 annually. The energy saved is enough to power four homes for a year.

• Chalfant Farms, Inc. in Randolph County will use a $10,500 grant to purchase and install an 18-kW solar array. The farm is a family owned farm. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $2,867 annually.

• D&D Electric in Etna Green will use a $14,750 grant to purchase and install a 28-kW solar array. D&D Electric is a family owned business. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $4,282 annually. The energy saved is enough to power three homes for a year.

• Steven Doerner, operates a family owned farm in Oakland City, will use a $8.082 grant to purchase and install an 18.2-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $3,483 annually.

• F & K Construction, a rural small business in Flora, will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install a 56-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $8,169 annually. The energy saved is enough to power seven homes per year.

• Furrer Crop Farms, a family owned farm in Wolcott, will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install a 37-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $7,611 annually.

• Hiatt M & B Farms, LLC, a family owned farm located in Randolph County, will use a $10,481 grant to purchase and install a 33-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $3,773 annually.

• Daniel K. Larney, a farmer in Gibson County, will use a $3,024 grant to purchase and install an 8-k solar array. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $1,315 annually.

• Pamela Milhollin, an agricultural producer who operates a family owned farm located in rural Randolph County, will use a $7,306 grant to purchase and install an 18-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the farm’s energy costs by $2,054 annually.

• N&L Pork, Inc., a woman owned business in Knox, will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install an 111-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $15,017 annually. The energy saved is enough to power 14 homes a year.

• Premier Roofing & Construction, LLC in Nappanee will use a $14,476 grant to purchase and install a 12-kW solar array. This project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $8,175 annually.

• Treat’s Squire Shop, a rural small business in Plymouth, will use a $1,500 grant to purchase and install LED lighting. The project is expected to lower the business’ energy costs by $4,081 annually. The energy saved is enough to power 5 homes a year.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.