WOOSTER Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced United States Department of Agriculture is to provide $6 million in loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and business owners across Ohio to enable them to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.
"These loan guarantees and grants will generate and save energy for Ohio's farmers and businesses for decades to come," Vilsack said. "Renewable energy systems like the biodigester that generates electricity for this research center are among the many ways USDA is helping the country become more energy independent."
Funding is authorized through the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (farm bill) and is administered by USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program.
Some farm owners have been selected to receive funding to replace grain dryers with energy-efficient models.
Others are to install renewable energy systems.
For example, French Creek BioEnergy LLC has been selected for a $500,000 REAP grant and a $1.65 million guaranteed loan to construct an anaerobic digester that is to produce 6.7 million kilowatts of energy annually. In Harrod, Harding Wind LLC has been selected for a $447,500 REAP grant to install a 500-kilowatt wind turbine.
It is expected to generate 1.1 million kilowatts of energy annually.
REAP funding may be used for renewable energy systems, energy-efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant or loan agreement.
More information is at www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP-ReapResEei.html.