Farmers, rural small businesses and agricultural producers should apply for financing in a USDA program that provides loan guarantees to help rural small businesses lower their energy costs.

USDA accepts applications for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funding year-round. Potential applicants can contact Jolene Pravecek at jolene.pravecek@usda.gov or 605-655-3516 for more information. REAP funding can be used for renewable energy systems such as anaerobic digesters, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar. It also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration.

An example of a USDA REAP investment is Langer’s Supermarkets, Inc. (family owned Langer’s Family Foods grocery store) which received $3,767 to purchase and install LED lighting in the grocery store in Gettysburg.

“Reducing operating costs and energy consumption can assist a small business’ bottom line and allows them to invest in equipment, products, and services to expand their operation,” said Julie Gross, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) state director for South Dakota.

Gross’ announcement is in coordination with the recent announcement made by Joel Baxley, acting assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has more than $400 million still available for Energy System and Energy Efficiency Loan Guarantees.

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