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Agencies invited to help with energy audits


June 29, 2010
By Manure Manager

June 28, 2010, Washington,
DC – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the USDA is
seeking applications from eligible intermediaries to help rural small
businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy costs and consumption.



June 28, 2010, Washington,
DC – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the USDA is
seeking applications from eligible intermediaries to help rural small
businesses and agricultural producers reduce energy costs and consumption.

Funding is provided to
conduct energy audits and provide renewable energy development assistance.

“This program promotes
efficient use of energy which can help curb our dependence on fossil fuels,”
Vilsack said. “In keeping with the Obama administration’s effort to create a
clean energy economy, these audits will enable owners of rural businesses,
farms, and ranches to better monitor their energy usage and take steps to
reduce consumption.”

The USDA, through its
Rural Development mission area, is making available $2.4 million for fiscal
year 2010 for energy audits. The funds are provided through the Rural Energy
for America Program (REAP)
and authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy
Act of 2008 (the Farm Bill)
.

The Farm Bill allows
agricultural producers or rural small business to recover up to three-quarters
of the cost of an energy audit. Audit funds are not provided directly to an
eligible producer but are allocated instead to an intermediary. The intermediary
provides funds to the audit recipient. Eligible intermediaries for energy audit
grants include state, tribal, or local government entities; land-grant colleges
and universities and other institutions of higher education, including 1994
Land Grant Colleges (Tribal Colleges), 1890 Land Grant Colleges and
Historically Black Universities; rural electric cooperatives; and public power
entities.

Rural Development is
accepting applications for this program until July 26, 2010. For more
information on how to apply, please see the May 27, 2010 Federal Register. To
learn more about the USDA’s REAP and other renewable energy programs, please
visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapEaReda.html.

The Rural Development
program is similar to a separate energy audit program administered by the
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Through their Environmental
Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
, NRCS provides audits to improve milk cooling
efficiency, irrigation pumping, heating and cooling of livestock production
facilities, manure collection and transfer, grain drying, and similar common
on-farm activities.


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