The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been working on their mission to improve the quality of life in rural areas by promoting energy efficiency through the Farm Bill. Every few years, the bill expires and must be reviewed and re-authorized by Congress. In June of this year, the Farm Bill underwent sweeping budget cuts, affecting several programs including federal food stamps.
Energy efficiency programs, however, have remained intact with bipartisan support, but few are aware of these programs or that they can be used for energy efficiency projects.
Regardless of it’s bipartisan support, these programs could be taken away if they go unused. The Farm Bill is set to expire in September. Without it, many Americans will be affected, even outside rural areas: food prices will rise dramatically, farmers will struggle to pay their bills, and land-grant universities will receive less research funding.
To help raise awareness of the programs going unused, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) published Energy Efficiency Opportunities at USDA, which outlines USDA energy-efficiency programs, such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Source: Growing the Rural Economy with Energy Efficiency, ACEEE
Funding Opportunity: USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Iowa Energy Center
Rural America saves energy and money with the State Energy Extension Partnership, Iowa Energy Center