USDA has announced the availability of $176.5 million in loan guarantees and $11.4 million in grants to support investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and small businesses.

Loan guarantees cover up to 50 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $10 million. Grants are available for up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements and $500,000 for renewable energy systems. Loans and grants are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 970,000 metric tons and replace 821 million barrels of foreign oil.

Details are available at http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Applications for grants must be completed and submitted to the USDA Rural Development state office postmarked no later than May 18. The deadline for submitting loan applications as well as for loan and grant combinations is July 2.