There are a number of programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are available to farmers to expand their operations.
Section 9007: Rural Energy for America (REAP)
Agricultural producers directly engaged in farming who get more than 50% of their gross income from agricultural operations are eligible to apply for loans and/or grants
from the federal government to purchase a renewable energy system or improve the energy efficiency of their farms.
Fast Facts About REAP
Renewable energy projects can include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydrogen, and hydroelectric projects.
Energy-efficiency projects can include modifications to buildings and the purchase or replacement of equipment.
In 2008, the most common energy-efficiency project approved by USDA was the installation of more efficient grain drying equipment.
The most commonly approved renewable energy projects in the United States were the installation of biomass, geothermal, and wind projects.
Amount of Assistance
Eligible farmers can apply for grants only for an amount up to 25% of total eligible costs, guaranteed loans only up to 75% of total eligible costs, or a combination of grants and guaranteed loans for an amount up to 75% of total eligible costs.
Energy-efficiency projects must be supported by an energy audit conducted by a qualified individual. Only costs identified in the audit are allowable. The cost of the audit can be part of total eligible costs. East-Central Iowa REC may be able to assist you with that portion of the cost of the energy audit that is not reimbursed through the grant or loan.
For more information about this program, call our member services director at our Urbana office at 319-443-4343 or 877-850-4343.