he USDA has selected for funding 450 projects nationwide, including 31 in North Carolina, that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 farm bill.
“The Obama administration and USDA are helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption – and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, protect the environment and strengthen the bottom line for businesses.” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This is part of the administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America.”
Secretary Vilsack made the announcement while touring Metrolina Greenhouses, a family-owned plant and services company in Huntersville, North Carolina, that has received a REAP guaranteed loan and three grants totaling over $1 million since 2007. In 2009, Metrolina received a combined REAP guaranteed loan and grant to construct a wood boiler heating system to supplement and replace the natural gas and fuel it uses at the 120-acre facility. In addition to heating Metrolina’s greenhouses, using wood chips in the boiler provides an additional market for local lumber mills and logging operations… Read more