Tag Archives: USDA Rural Development

USDA Seeks Public Input to Help Create a New Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2021 — Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is requesting public input from interested parties, including potential customers and interested stakeholders, to help create a new Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program. To ensure a diverse group of voices are heard, USDA is seeking written comments and will host a public listening session on April 22, 2021.

“When we invest in creating new sources of renewable energy, we invest in rebuilding the middle class by creating good-paying jobs in rural America,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said. “To meet this goal, we must put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions, and that begins with getting feedback from a broad, diverse set of voices from the start.” Continue reading here.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page



Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Expands Membership, Drills Down on Policy Recommendations, National Farmers Union News Release

[In February] the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) announced expanding membership and new policy working groups focused on developing a set of more specific policy proposals that drill down on the 40+ recommendations released by FACA in November 2020. FACA’s eight founding members — American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (co-chair), National Farmers Union (co-chair) and The Nature Conservancy — welcomed 14 new groups to the Steering Committee. FACA’s original 40+ recommendations cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. They are outlined in a 50-page report [PDF] and summarized in a hand-out [PDF].



Healthy Soils and the Climate Connection: A Path to Economic Recovery on America’s Farms
 provides a roadmap for how climate-smart agriculture policies could provide profit boosts for farmers and climate wins for advocates.

Most initiatives to fight climate change today focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must also significantly reduce the atmospheric carbon that has already been emitted. While efforts are underway to develop new and high tech mechanisms to accomplish this, there is an immediately available and economically viable pathway for atmospheric carbon removal—one that provides a compelling new value proposition for farmers to revitalize their soils and get paid for doing it.

E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.

Previously Posted
Biden to Engage Farmers & Build Climate Resilience, NRDC
What Biden’s Climate Plan Means For Regenerative Ag, Rodale Institute

Buyer’s Guides
A Buyer’s Guide To Regenerative Food, Rodale Institute
RegeNErate Nebraska Resource Guide

Recommended Books 


Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land, by Leah Penniman




Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Farming, by Gabe Brown

Trump Administration Invests $776,960 in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Rural Nebraska–Investment to Help 39 Agricultural Producers or Businesses

USDA Rural Development News Release

“The investments announced today will help many rural businesses and agricultural producers to save on energy costs which will allow them to reinvest into their farm or business, helping the rural economy,” said Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser for USDA Rural Development. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Nebraska in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.” Listed by county are Nebraska’s recipients: Continue reading here.

For more information contact Nebraska Energy Coordinator Jeff Carpenter at
402-437-5554 or jeff.carpenter@usda.gov.

USDA Rural Development State Office
Suite 308 Federal Building
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, Nebraska  68508

Rural Energy for America Program: Next applications deadline is November 2, 2020

  • Applications for Grants of $20,000 or Less and Loan/Grant of $20,000 or Less Combo Applications due by November 2, 2020, or March 31, 2021.
  • Applications for Unrestricted Grants or Loan/Unrestricted Grant Combo Applications due by March 31, 2021.
  • Guaranteed Loans are accepted on a continuous application cycle.

Program Fact Sheet
Hoja Informativa del Programa en Español

Nebraskans for Solar Resources

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE): Nebraska Dollar and Energy Saving Loans

Department of Energy Resource: Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar

USDA Invests in Rural Electric Infrastructure Improvements in 13 States

USDA News Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $251 million (PDF, 120 KB) to upgrade rural electric systems in 13 states. The funding includes $38.2 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.

USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program for 12 projects that will serve rural areas in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The funding will help build and improve 1,971 miles of line to improve electric reliability in rural areas.

Read the entire news release here.

USDA Announces $309 Million Investment in Rural Electric Utilities

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $309 million in 16 projects to improve rural electric infrastructure in 12 states . . . Today’s investments will build or improve 1,660 miles of electric line serving rural homes, farms and businesses. USDA is funding infrastructure improvements for utilities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington.
Read the entire release here.

Press Release: USDA Invests $276 Million in Rural Electric Infrastructure

USDA’s $276 million investment will build nearly 1,000 miles of line and improve 733 miles of line to meet current and future needs of rural businesses and residents. It will also support $65 million in smart grid technologies to help rural electric utilities reduce outages and integrate new systems.

Smart grid includes technological enhancements such as metering, substation automation, computer applications, two-way communications and geospatial information systems.

Investments are being made in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia. The loan guarantees are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Electric Program, which is the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration. Read the entire release here.

 Electric Loans – USDA Rural Development (PDF)

New USDA Funding for Rural Economic Development

Electric cooperatives might want to take advantage of a new USDA program that supports rural economic development partnerships Photo by Getty Images

Electric cooperatives might want to take advantage of a new USDA program that supports rural economic development partnerships. Photo by Getty Images

By Steven Johnson, Electric Co-op Today, published by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 

A new Department of Agriculture program lets electric cooperatives partner with regional organizations to boost rural economic development. The Strategic Economic and Community Development program was established as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, but is just now getting off the ground. USDA has set aside $500 million for projects that support economic and community development plans across jurisdictions, said Joe McKinney, executive director of the National Association of Development Organizations, a Washington, D.C.-based group.

Continue reading here.

News Release: USDA Awards $39.3 Million in Loans and Grants to Support Economic Development in Rural Areas. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; financed 180,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit: www.usda.gov/results.

USDA Rural Development Awards Funding to 15 Nebraska Recipients to Assist with Energy Needs


USDA NEWS RELEASE – LINCOLN, NEBRASKA. Fifteen Nebraska applicants have been selected to receive $474,974 in grants from USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funds will be used to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements that will promote energy conservation.

“Through these projects, energy consumption will be reduced, thereby making more dollars available to be kept within rural Nebraska and assisting the state’s rural economy,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development.  “The projected number of households powered through this funding package is 309 homes providing (3,351,151 kWh) of energy saved or generated.”

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen and geothermal.  Additional information on the Rural Energy for America Program may be found at  http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/ne or contact Jeff Carpenter, jeff.carpenter@ne.usda.gov;
(402) 437-5554.

Detailed below by county are the energy projects selected from Nebraska’s allocation of funding. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreements.

Burt: Keogh, Ronald J. – Oakland – $35,250 – Installing a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot monopole.

Butler: Barcel Mill & Lumber, Inc. – Bellwood – $41,000 – Installing a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot monopole.

Clay: Browns Thrift Store, Inc. – Sutton – $23,669 – Replacing old refrigeration/freezer equipment with a 33 door freezer case, six door medium lunch meat refrigeration case, and a 10 door medium dairy refrigeration case.

Dawson: Olsen, Matthew – Gothenburg – $10,218 – Replacing inefficient lighting, windows, and installing stucco insulation system on the face of the building.

Prairie Point Junction, LLC – Cozad – $2,166 – Replacing existing inefficient lighting with new more efficient lighting.

Dixon: Bose, Andy – Wayne – $25,056 – Replacing an older, inefficient grain drying system with a new, more efficient model.

Furnas: Ruf, Margaret E – Wilsonville – $19,990 – Converting gravity irrigation system to a center pivot system, converting one propane irrigation motor to an electric motor, installing a pump panel and underground wiring.

Gage: Ensz Feedlot, Inc. – Beatrice – $49,750 – Installing a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot monopole tower.

Jefferson: Classic Dairy, Inc. – Jansen – $49,750 – Installing a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot monopole tower.

Lincoln: Bodenhamer, Richard E. – Hershey – $49,661 – Converting six diesel and one propane irrigation motors to electric motors, installing head shafts, pumps, pump panels, and underground wiring.

Merrick: Mesner Development Co. – Central City – $18,750 – Installing a 25 kW photo voltaic solar system on an existing building to replace the building’s existing energy source.

Ziemba, Albin – Silver Creek – $29,425 – Replacing an older, inefficient grain drying system with a new, more efficient model.

Sunco Systems, Inc. – Madrid – $41,250 – Installing a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot monopole tower.

Young Ag, LTD – Grant – $29,289 – Converting a diesel irrigation motor to an electric motor, installing variable frequency drive, and rebowling a well.

Seward: Roth, Cecil – Milford – $49,750 – Installing a 25 kW wind turbine on a 100 foot monopole tower.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, USDA has supported more than 9,600 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide through REAP. During this period, the Department has provided more than $288 million in grants and $268 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.

USDA Grants Help Local Rural Development

By Jackie Kent, NBC Nebraska

The application process is open until June 30th. Eligibility information and the form are available here

Solar Array on Kleinschmidt Farm

HASTINGS, Neb. — The USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) awarded $146,000 in grants to 15 Nebraska applicants to help with energy conservation.

According to a news release, the funds will cover energy-efficient improvements and renewable energy systems installation.

The USDA has awarded $545 million to support similar projects worldwide since 2009. For local award recipients, that means helping rural development.

To continue reading and view the video, click here.