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USDA Invests in Michigan Energy Efficiency Improvements
Michigan Ag Connection - 08/20/2019

Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Bette Brand Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in all states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.

"Lowering energy costs helps rural businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs," Brand said. "Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to increasing economic development in America's rural communities through strong partnerships because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives."

Under Monday's announcement, USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks.

"These investments are another way USDA is helping to strengthen the rural economy," said USDA Rural Development State Director Jason Allen.

Recipients can use REAP funding for a variety of needs, such as conducting energy audits and installing renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. Funds also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Listed below are a few examples of how farmers, rural business owners and institutions are making investments in their operations through REAP.

Michigan's recipients, by county, are:

Allegan -- US 131 Motorsports Park, Inc. -- $20,000, lighting upgrades

Antrim -- Providence Farm, LLC -- $18,375, installing solar array system; and White Birch Lodge, LLC -- $11,825, also installing a solar arragy system

Calhoun -- Jerry Allan Motz -- $5,530, installing solar array system

Cass -- Kevin Hershberger -- $14,448, upgrading grain dryer

Clinton -- Motz View Farms, LLC -- $12,359, installing solar array system

Eaton -- Country Mill Farms, LLC -- $18,750, installing solar array system

Gratiot -- Avenue A Properties, LLC -- $20,000; Haynes Farms, LLC -- $20,000; and Todd Haynes -- $20,000; each for installing solar array systems

Ingham -- Williamston Innovation, LLC -- $5,390, upgrades to lighting and heating systems

Isabella -- Terry Persells -- $3,934, installing solar array system

Jackson -- H&O Industrial Properties, LLC -- $20,000, lighting upgrades; and Two Tracks Acres, LLC -- $7,849, installing solar array system

Kalamazoo -- Jonathan L. Stermer -- $15,250, upgrading grain dryer

Kent -- Fruit Ridge Apple Co., LLC -- $20,000, installing solar array system

Montcalm -- Korsons Tree Farms, Inc. -- $7,469, installing solar array system

St. Clair -- Mark Donald Heidt -- $12,100, installing solar array system

Tuscola -- Darwin S. Hecht -- $20,000, upgrading grain dryer

Washtenaw -- Golden Limousine, Inc. -- $15,971, lighting upgrades

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