USDA has officially announced rule changes for the 2011 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This competitive program assists eligible growers by providing funding for renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects.
The program provides funding up to 25 percent of the total project cost, with a maximum incentive of $250,000 for energy-efficiency projects and $500,000 for renewable-energy projects.
Important Rule Changes
1. Agricultural producers in urban areas are now eligible. Agricultural producers are eligible if directly engaged in production of agricultural produce and obtain at least 50 percent or more of their gross income from their agriculture business. Previous guidance mandated that agricultural producers in urban areas were ineligible for the program regardless of location within a previously designated
2. Flexfuel (blender pumps) are now qualified as an eligible technology. The USDA REAP program will aggressively promote these projects.
Eligibility for a grant falls under two categories.
1. Agricultural producers (individual or entity) are eligible if directly engaged in production of agricultural produce and obtain at least 50 percent or more of their gross income from their agriculture business.
2. Rural small businesses with fewer than 500 employees and are in accordance with SBA’s (Small Business Administration) small business size standards.
USDA deadline for the 2011 funding cycle with be June 15, 2011
Projects are evaluated on a point system with applicants that score the highest being funded first. Money will be allocated until funding is exhausted.