Vilsack Stresses How REAP Can Benefit Ag Rural, Communities

Last week, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $464 million in renewable energy grants for producers, rural communities, and businesses in 48 states and Puerto Rico. Vilsack said close to $129 million dollars in grants and loans will go for renewable and energy efficiency projects on the farm through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP.

“The combination of these energy projects and energy-efficiency projects will essentially save the equivalent of 379 million kilowatt-hours, which is essentially enough to fuel and take care of over 35,000 homes.”

Another $335 million in loans will go to build or improve more than 14-hundred miles of electric lines.

Meantime, Vilsack took on concerns the administration is putting all its ‘eggs’ into the electrification ‘basket’ to the detriment of biofuel and corn producers.

“It doesn’t grant, as the previous administration did, a series of waivers that undercut the Renewable Fuel Standard. Secondly, as we’ve announced as part of our pandemic assistance and Build Back Better effort, we are in the process of finalizing plans to provide 700 million dollars in assistance to the biofuel industry because they didn’t receive benefits under the previous COVID packages.” 

The reason, Vilsack noted, USDA also announced it will soon seek requests for another $700 million in grants for specialty crop and seafood producers and processors, meat and other processors, and farmers markets. That after earlier announcing $700 million in grants for farm and food workers.

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