Monday, April 4, 2011

Get Energy Assistance with REAP

One of the hottest topics of conversation today is the cost and efficiency of renewable and non-renewable energy and associated technology. If you are a small business owner or farmer in Sumter County, you could be eligible for assistance in making your business more energy efficient. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is being offered by USDA Rural Development to provide loan guarantees or grants to eligible producers and small business owners.
The goal of the program is to help farmers and small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Renewable energy systems could include those that generate energy from wind, the sun, biomass, geothermal sources or that produce hydrogen from biomass or water using renewable energy. To be eligible for the program, the system that you purchase must be commercially available and not something that you fabricated yourself. Energy-efficiency projects could involve installing or upgrading equipment to significantly reduce energy costs.

Energy audits and feasibility studies could also be eligible for assistance through this program. Do you know where your energy dollars are being used in your business or farm? With energy costs rising, this would be a great time to get help in determining ways to become more efficient. There are several good resources for Farm Energy Calculators available that can be used to do energy self-assessments.

Most farms and small businesses operate with a small profit margin, and saving on energy costs is a smart way to become more profitable! For information about REAP and other USDA Rural Development Energy Programs visit For local assistance with renewable energy, energy calculators and other information please contact Susan Kelly, UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension at (352) 793-2728 x236 or