Twelve poultry associations representing poultry and egg producers in 14 states have delivered a letter to the House Agriculture Committee asking for renewal of the farm bill’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) with mandatory funding.

The letter opened: “As representatives for the poultry industry, we urge you to renew the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) with sufficient mandatory funding. REAP is a unique program within the federal government that helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses improve their profit margins by cutting energy bills with energy efficiency and renewable energy and creates needed jobs in our rural communities.”

REAP has benefited America’s poultry farmers since first being implemented in 2003 when poultry growers won grants to cut their energy use -- and bills -- with energy efficiency measures such as high efficiency fans, lights and motors. These measures continue to boost grower profits and income, while increasing the quality of the poultry produced.

REAP was created in the 2002 farm bill. It provides grants and loan guarantees to farmers and rural small businesses to incentivize adoption of energy efficiency and a broad range of renewable energy technologies. Since 2003, over 8,000 agricultural producers in every state have received awards under REAP.

The signers stated: “Demand for REAP consistently exceeds available resources, creating intense competition for funds and leaving many opportunities for energy savings among poultry growers untapped. American agricultural producers of all sorts exhibit strong and growing interest in conserving energy and producing renewable energy.”

Signing organizations include Alabama Poultry & Egg Association, The Poultry Federation (Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri), California Poultry Federation, Georgia Poultry Federation, Kansas Poultry Association, Louisiana Poultry Federation, Mississippi Poultry Association Inc., North Carolina Poultry Federation, South Carolina Poultry Federation, Tennessee Poultry Association, Texas Poultry Federation, and the West Virginia Poultry Association.

“Poultry growers were among the first to recognize the value of REAP, which helps all agricultural sectors and has benefitted every state. This program’s success has built this broad support for its continuation,” said Mark Leggett, President of the Mississippi Poultry Association.