Investment in Farmers, Ranchers, and Small Businesses Will Strengthen Sustainability and Energy Independence of Massachusetts Communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 12, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) announced the Massachusetts winners of $148,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Nationwide the USDA will award $6.7 million in grants to 544 energy projects across the country. These awards are part of the USDA’s Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“Our farmers and small business owners are the lifeblood of our economy. By investing in renewable energy projects in Central and Western Massachusetts, these grants will help our farmers and small businesses save money, create jobs, strengthen conservation, and continue to move our country toward energy independence,” Congressman McGovern said. “I am grateful to Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the great work our Massachusetts communities are leading in renewable energy.”
Massachusetts awardees include Applefield Farms, Inc. in Stow; Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Inc. in Deerfield; The Kitchen Garden, LLC in Templeton; Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm LP in Bedford, Clark Brothers Orchards, LLC in Ashfield, Wenham Pond Cranberry, Inc. in Wareham; Thomas Bohan in New Braintree, Jonathan Carr in Hadley, Walter Czajkowski in Hadley, and Bruce Scherer in Orange.
Congressman McGovern has long been a strong supporter of REAP its continued investment in Massachusetts. REAP was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. REAP funding has helped farmers expand renewable energy use in recent years. The new Census of Agriculture shows the number of farms utilizing renewable energy production has doubled in the last five years.
Since 2009, USDA has awarded $545 million to support more than 8,800 REAP projects nationwide. This includes $361 million in grants and loans for almost 2,900 renewable energy systems. For the remaining 5,900 projects, USDA provided $184 million to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers make energy efficiency improvements such as lighting; heating, ventilation and cooling; irrigation; insulation and motor replacements. When fully operational, these projects are estimated to generate and save 7.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually – enough to power more than 660,000 homes for a year.
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.