USDA released another paper Thursday from comments received during last year's nationwide Farm Bill Forum listening tour. The latest analysis paper focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.
The paper, found at www.usda.gov/farmbill, looks at all the potential sources of energy under agriculture's umbrella, from farm fields to pasture and forest lands. It also tracks the results of USDA's renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and contemplates enhancements and alternatives to those programs. These alternatives do not represent specific farm bill proposals but instead are put forward to further public discussion.
Funds to increase renewable energy production, promote energy saving
In Sioux Center, Iowa, Tuesday Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns also announced the selection of 12 projects in Iowa, Kansas and Oregon to receive over $9 million in loan guarantees and grants to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Eight Iowa recipients will receive more than $6 million.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program provides grants and loan guarantees to eligible farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to assist in developing renewable energy systems and making energy improvements. Projects must be located in a rural area (any area other than cities or towns of greater than 50,000 population and the immediate or adjacent urbanized areas of the cities or towns).
Eligible businesses include sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and cooperatives organized in accordance with 501c(12) of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the applicant must meet the Small Business Administration's small business size standards.
More than $6 million of the funds announced will go to eight Iowa recipients. One of the recipients, Amana Farms, Inc., of Iowa, will receive a $500,000 grant and a $1,065,850 loan guarantee to install an anaerobic digester system. Green Prairie Energy, LLC of Prole, Iowa, will receive a $280,000 grant and a $250,000 loan guarantee to install a 2 MW wind turbine. Tri-City Energy in Keokuk, Iowa, will use a $500,000 grant and a $2 million loan guarantee to construct a biodiesel facility.
Rough and Ready Lumber Company of Cave Junction, Ore., will receive a $500,000 grant and a $2,350,000 loan guarantee to install a biomass high pressure boiler and back pressure turbine generator system to increase steam production for the lumber drying process and produce 1.5 MW of power that will be sold to a local power company. Additional funds will be used by recipients to make energy saving improvements to businesses and to install new energy efficient grain dryers. In all, Johanns announced the award of $9,076,716 in grants and loan guarantees.