USDA Funds Energy Audits for Farms, Ranches, and Rural Small Businesses

March 18, 2009

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on March 11 that it will now provide grants to support energy audits at farms, ranches, and rural small businesses through its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The energy audit funds, which were authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, will be awarded to governments and organizations that can conduct the audits, including state, tribal, and local governments; land grant colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning; and electric cooperatives and public power companies. Governments and organizations seeking the funds must apply by June 9. The farmers, ranchers, and businessmen receiving the audits must pay one-quarter of the cost. In addition to energy audits, the REAP grants can support programs that provide information about energy efficiency and renewable energy to farms, ranches, and rural small businesses, and they can also fund technical support efforts for the development of small hydropower projects. Grants of up to $100,000 are available. See the USDA press release, the grant program Web page, and the Federal Register notice.