September 29, 2022

USDA to invest over $100 million to fight climate change in rural America

USDA to invest over $100 million to fight climate change in rural America 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it will invest $121 million in infrastructure to combat climate change in rural parts of America. Over 280 projects throughout 49 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico will be funded. Three USDA programs designed to help the socially vulnerable are Community Facilities Disaster GrantsRural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants, and Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants.

“Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” USDA  Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh said. “The Biden-Harris Administration has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure. The investments we’re announcing today and those that will be made possible by historic funding from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will strengthen our energy security, create good-paying jobs and save Americans money on their energy costs.”

The investments will help state and local government entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized tribes construct, renovate, or purchase and install equipment for essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. They also will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems as well as make energy efficiency improvements. The investments are said to benefit energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, and renewable energy site assessments. 

Several agriculture-related organizations are benefitting from this investment. 

  • Reilly Ranch LLC will receive help offsetting the purchase and installation costs of an 8.36-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. Reilly Ranch LLC is an agriculture producer in Judith Basin, Montana. The system will replace 8,235-kilowatt hours of energy and save the producer $988 annually. This energy is enough to provide power to one house annually. 

  • Wishing Stone Inc. will receive an investment to be used to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems, and in making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. Wishing Stone Inc. is a farm with a commitment to sustainable agriculture. Project funds will be used for the purchase and installation of a 24-kW solar array. This project will realize $6,663 per year in savings and will replace 31,760 kWh (42.52 percent) per year.

Check out the full list of recipients here.