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Energy Programs Will Boost Rural Economy

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Senator Debbie StabenowMichigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be investing $68 million in 540 renewable energy and energy efficient projects across the country, helping to spur domestic energy production while also growing the rural economy and helping to create jobs. The investment, part of the Rural Energy for America Program, aids farmers and landowners in developing homegrown, renewable energy and also in making energy efficiency improvements – helping to reduce overall energy consumption and the need for foreign energy sources. The 2014 Farm Bill includes a robust energy title that received significant funding. “These rural energy programs are critical in strengthening small businesses across the country and helping to spur local economies and create jobs,” Stabenow said. “Through these investments, farmers will be able to install energy efficiency upgrades to their operations to cut energy costs. They will be empowered to harness the energy potential of American grown agriculture – by developing innovative systems to fuel and grow their businesses. Farm energy programs were a major priority for me when writing the 2014 Farm Bill, and I’m pleased to see producers across the country using these programs to strengthen their businesses, grow profits, and continue creating more jobs.”

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has helped nearly 4,000 farmers, ranchers and rural business owners lower their energy bills by installing renewable and energy efficient systems. The 2014 Farm Bill provides robust funding for REAP and authorizes a streamlined application process that helps farmers and rural business owners move forward more quickly on small projects. These investments provide opportunities, income and jobs in our nation’s rural communities by investing in the future, ensuring rural communities will be able to thrive in the 21st century economy. More about the 2014 Farm Bill can be found here.