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SG-W:/ Opportunity for farmers and other rural businesses


Farmers, Ranchers Can Apply for Renewable Energy Grants

WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 2004 (ENS) - For the second year, the Bush administration is giving millions to agricultural producers or rural small businesses to develop renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations.

On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced the availability of $22.8 million in grants under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program. This compares with $ 21.7 million offered last year to assist 114 applicants from 24 states develop or improve wind power, anaerobic digester, solar, ethanol and other bioenergy related systems or energy efficiency improvements.

“President [George W.] Bush wants to bring greater energy independence to our country through expanded use of renewable energy,” said Veneman. These grants will help America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses meet this need.”

Applicants for the program must be agricultural producers or rural small businesses, U.S. citizens or legal residents, and have demonstrated financial need. Rural Development grant funds may be used to pay up to 25 percent of the eligible project costs.

Eligible projects include those that derive energy from a wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal source, or hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources.

Applications must be completed and submitted with a postmark no later than 75 days from today's publication of the offering in the Federal Register. Detailed information about program requirements and information on how and where to apply is included in the funding notice.

Awards will be made on a competitive basis for the purchase of renewable energy systems and to make energy improvements. Find out more at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.