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Rural Energy for America Program empowers farmers for energy self-sufficiency

Anthony Kirkland, the Business Program Director for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, is helping farmers become more energy self-sufficient through the agency’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

With ample funding available, including a recent allocation of $4.4 million in the state of Indiana, REAP aims to support producers, small farmers, and small businesses in improving their energy costs through renewable energy and energy-efficient projects.

One of the notable examples of REAP’s impact is the installation of solar projects in Indiana, with several successful projects completed in the past year.

Kirkland acknowledges that REAP is often considered a “best-kept secret” due to misconceptions about paperwork and eligibility. However, he emphasizes that the program is accessible to anyone, including grant writers who can assist with the application process.

There is no set time to apply for REAP, as projects can be submitted at any time. Kirkland also highlights that USDA Rural Development has seven area offices with experts on the ground to assist small businesses with access to capital and technical assistance.

Kirkland said Indiana led the nation in the number of projects completed under REAP last year, including attracting a company from Mexico to establish operations in the state.

USDA Rural Development also offers other programs, such as the Business Loan Guarantee Program for lenders and grant programs for cities and towns, while supporting communities. Kirkland encourages those interested to visit the USDA website for more information and to seek answers to their questions.

This program is making strides in empowering farmers and small businesses in rural America to become more energy self-sufficient.

Through funding and support for renewable energy and energy-efficient projects, REAP is driving economic growth and job creation while contributing to sustainable energy practices.