Craig Scroggs Talks About the USDA Rural Energy for America Program

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Craig Scroggs with USDA Rural Development talks about the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program, and how the program gives out loans and grants to farmers and rural businesses who install renewable energy systems or efficiency improvements on their property.

Hi. I'm Craig Scroggs with USDA Rural Development and I serve as our renewable energy coordinator for the state. USDA has a program that I'd like to talk to you about today. It's called our Rural Energy for America program. We have loans and grants that are available to farmers and rural small businesses who want to install renewable energy systems or do energy efficiency improvements on their farm or business.

Now, our renewable energy systems can be wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, biofuels; all of those type things that can help reduce our requirement for imported oil. But, also, it can help a farmer to reduce their cost of buying electricity or diesel for that matter.

Our energy efficiency improvements can also be used on farms or businesses to help reduce costs that a farmer or a business has, so if you need to add insulation or replace HVAC systems, if you're on a farm and you want to replace your diesel motor with an electric motor we can help do that. If you have poultry farms we can help do those energy efficiency improvements. It just helps a farmer save money, but it also helps him to save energy.

Our grant program can help pay for up to 25 percent of those costs, so it's a way that a farmer can make his money go further by partnering with us and to do those improvements on their farm.

We have a program that is available right now. We're taking applications. Al Burns works in South Georgia and I work in North Georgia, but we handle the entire state and we'll be glad to work with you, a farmer, to prepare an application and let it compete for our program.

We anticipate funding to be available at some point next year, but we're just taking applications now to let farmers or businesses to go ahead and apply and get in line for those funds.

We did about 92 different projects this year, from solar to poultry house upgrades and a lot of diesel motor replacements, and looking to have good projects submitted to us again for this upcoming year. We'll work with you on applications to get those in and to compete for those funds.

I look forward to working with all of our farmers and businesses in the state.