(CARSON CITY—Aug. 22, 2019)Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Bette Brand Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in all states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.

“Lowering energy costs helps rural businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs,” Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to increasing economic development in America’s rural communities through strong partnerships because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Under the announcement, USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation. 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 (HVAC) systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. The REAP grant can support up to 25% of the total project cost for a small rural business, farmer or rancher to develop a renewable energy system or install energy efficiency improvements, like new lighting or HVAC.

In Douglas County, Chemeon Surface Technology, a metal surface engineering chemical company, will be using a $15,979 REAP grant to replace the company’s heating and air system with a more energy efficient model.

In White Pine County, the  Ely Economy Drug, a family-owned pharmacy, used a $3,850 REAP grant to complete lighting upgrades in a basement area of the drugstore to improve marketability and increase energy efficiency.

For more information on REAP in Nevada, contact USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator Laura Chavez at (775) 443-4764. Oct. 31 is the next deadline to apply for REAP grants $20,000 or less, or for REAP guaranteed loans. Information online at NV REAP Website .

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.