USDA will fund 106 projects in 29 states, Guam and Puerto Rico to produce renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements. Funding is made available through USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 farm bill.

"The Obama administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners across the country reduce their energy costs and consumption," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This is part of the President's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy, which involves expanding support for traditional as well as alternative energy sources. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America."

For example, in Washington County, Iowa, Andrew McCall is receiving a guaranteed loan to construct a 50 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at his agricultural business. The turbine is expected to generate approximately 103,200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to meet the annual requirements of nine homes. In Adair, Iowa, Meadow Ridge Wind Energy, LLC is receiving a guaranteed loan that will be used to purchase and install a 1.5 million kW wind turbine. The turbine is expected to generate 5.77 million kWh of electricity annually, enough to meet the annual electricity requirements of more than 500 homes.

In Calumet, Wis., WTE-Dallmann LLC is receiving a REAP grant to help fund the installation of an anaerobic digester that will generate more than 4.8 million kWh of electricity, enough to power 420 homes annually. The power will be sold to the local electric utility.

Anaerobic digester technology is a proven method of converting waste products, such as manure, into electricity. Anaerobic digesters are in concert with an agreement Secretary Vilsack signed with U.S. dairy producers in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009 to accelerate the adoption of innovative manure-to-energy projects on American dairy farms.

REAP provides grants and loan guarantees for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to reduce energy consumption and costs, use renewable energy technologies in their operations and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. For a complete listing of recipients, click here.