06-12-19 Potato Industry Strongly Supports Immediate Passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

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Potato Industry Strongly Supports Immediate Passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Two Top Potato Export Markets At Stake

Washington, D.C. – The National Potato Council joined with over 950 farm groups and agricultural organizations in a letter urging Congress to immediately ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Canada and Mexico are two of our top three largest export markets. Passing the
USMCA is essential in building on the success of the NAFTA agreement and enhancing
the American jobs provided by the potato industry,” said Jared Balcom, of Balcom &
Moe, Inc. in Pasco, WA. Continue reading

06-12-19 $20,000 child agricultural injury prevention grants available

$20,000 child agricultural injury prevention grants available

Proposals are now being accepted by the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety for grants up to $20,000 to support small-scale projects and pilot studies that address prevention of childhood agricultural disease and injury. Application deadline is August 19, 2019.

Highest priority will be given to projects that: Continue reading

06-12-19 U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Takes on Capitol Hill

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Takes on Capitol Hill 

(WASHINGTON) – Members from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. on June 10-11 for the annual United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Washington, DC Fly-In. Over 30 members were in attendance for the event, representing Colorado, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, and Virginia.

USCA spent the two days on Capitol Hill working on its number one policy priority: strengthening the bottom line of U.S. cattle producers.

Attendees also met with Administration officials, including leadership at the U.S Department of Agriculture, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and the White House.

USCA President Kenny Graner issued the following statement: Continue reading

06-12-19 New U.S. Wheat Associates Officers Begin Terms at 2019 Annual Meeting

2019-2020 USW Officers (L to R) Darren Padget, Vice Chairman, Oregon; Doug Goyings, Chairman, Ohio; Chris Kolstad, Past Chairman, Montana; and Rhonda Larson, Secretary-Treasurer, Minnesota.

New U.S. Wheat Associates Officers Begin Terms at 2019 Annual Meeting

WHITEFISH, Montana — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board of Directors seated new officers at its annual meeting June 12, 2019, in Whitefish, Mont. USW is the export market development organization representing U.S. wheat farmers.

USW officers for 2019/20 are: Chairman Doug Goyings of Paulding, Ohio; Vice Chairman Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore.; Secretary-Treasurer Rhonda Larson of East Grand Forks, Minn.; and Past Chairman Chris Kolstad of Ledger, Mont. USW officers were elected to these one-year positions at the January 2019 board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C.

The board of directors also welcomed representatives of the Alberta Wheat Commission as special guests at their meeting. Geoff Backman, Business Development and Markets Manager, and Gary Stanford, Chairman and a wheat farmer from Lethbridge, Alberta, discussed the Canadian side of the current, shared trade issues. Casey Chumrau, USW Marketing Manager, Santiago, Chile, and a Montana native, updated the directors on new export opportunities in South America. Continue reading

06-12-19 Western Governors Association elect Governor Doug Burgum as Chair, approve policy resolutions

Western Governors Association elect Governor Doug Burgum as Chair, approve policy resolutions

The Western Governors elected North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum to serve as WGA Chair and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown as Vice Chair at the 2019 WGA Annual Meeting in Colorado.
Gov. Burgum closed the meeting by announcing his Chairman’s Initiative for the coming year: Reimagining the Rural West. The Initiative will examine challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life, identify best practices, and recommend policies to support vibrant rural communities in the West.

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06-12-19 Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Avoiding Tariffs on Imports from Mexico a Major Relief to U.S. Meat Industry

Weekly USMEF Audio Report: Avoiding Tariffs on Imports from Mexico a Major Relief to U.S. Meat Industry

CLICK HERE to learn more about the USMEF

The White House recently announced a plan to impose tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico unless more steps were taken to curb illegal migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. The tariffs were to begin June 10 at a rate of 5% and increase by an additional 5% each month until reaching 25% on Oct. 1. But on June 7, President Trump announced that Mexico has pledged to enhance its efforts to address border security issues. As a result, the proposed tariffs were not imposed.

This decision came as a major relief to the U.S. red meat industry, as Mexico is the largest volume destination for U.S. pork exports and the third-largest export market for U.S. beef. In late May, U.S. pork gained relief from a 20% retaliatory duty imposed by Mexico since mid-2018 in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, and U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom says it is essential that U.S. pork’s duty-free status is maintained. The 20% duty had a severe impact on U.S. pork exports in the second half of 2018, and through April of this year pork export value to Mexico was down nearly 30% year-over-year. Continue reading

06-12-19 USDA Proposes Bold Moves to Improve Forests Management, Grasslands

USDA Proposes Bold Moves to Improve Forests Management, Grasslands

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 12, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) released proposed changes to modernize how the agency complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed updates would not only give the Forest Service the tools and flexibility to manage the land and tackle critical challenges like wildfire, insects, and disease but also improve service to the American people. Revising the rules will improve forest conditions and make it simpler for people to use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands at lower cost to the taxpayer. The revised rules will also make it easier to maintain and repair the infrastructure people need to use and enjoy their public lands—the roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities.

While these proposed changes will save time and resources, they are ultimately intended to better protect people, communities and forests from catastrophic wildfire and ensure a high level of engagement with people and communities when doing related work and associated environmental analyses.

“We are committed to doing the work to protect people and infrastructure from catastrophic wildfire. With millions of acres in need of treatment, years of costly analysis and delays are not an acceptable solution – especially when data and experience show us we can get this work done with strong environmental protection standards as well as protect communities, livelihoods and resources,” said Secretary Perdue.

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, June 12th

NIFA Jones ERS in Unionizing

Employees of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture joined the Economic Research Service in a vote to unionize, according to Agri-Pulse. The vote comes as the Department of Agriculture within the next few weeks is expected to announce the proposed sites for the agencies as part of its plan to relocate the two. USDA previously narrowed the list to the Kansas City Area, Raleigh, North Carolina, and multiple sites in Indiana. The controversial proposal prompted the Economic Research Service to unionize last month, and Tuesday, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture did the same. Both have formed a so-called bargaining unit with the American Federation of Government Employees. The Federation claims the proposed relocation would impact 568 out of 664 positions total between the two agencies. By establishing a union at the worksite, the USDA agencies are legally required to notify employees in advance of any proposed changes to their working conditions and to bargain with the union in good faith over those proposed changes.

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Corn Production Forecast Lower Amid Wet Spring, Prevent Plant

Farmers are making progress on planting, but the wet spring means lower production. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress numbers show roughly 15.8 million acres of corn and 33.6 million acres of soybeans remains to be planted based. The World Agriculture Supply and Demand Report, released Tuesday, predicts U.S. corn production to fall 1.45 billion bushels to 13.7 billion. However, USDA left the soybean forecast unchanged, with “several weeks remaining in the planting season.” USDA raised the expected season-average corn price to $3.80 a bushel, and the season-average soybean price to $8.25 a bushel. Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue confirmed this week that prevent plant acres could not be included in the Market Facilitation Program. However, Perdue says USDA is “exploring legal flexibilities” to provide a minimal per acre payment to farmers who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an eligible cover crop. Perdue says USDA will provide more details “in the coming weeks.” The Market Facilitation Program is currently under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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NACD Encourages Producers to Implement Conservation Practices Amid Extreme Weather

The National Association of Conservation Districts is urging farmers to explore transitioning to conservation practices, including no-till and cover crops, to prevent further soil erosion in the face of extreme weather. The U.S. is currently experiencing the wettest 12 months on record, and farmers have faced a well-documented wet spring, and historically slow planting pace. In February, NACD hosted two focus groups at its annual meeting in San Antonio, for discussions on how soil health practices like cover crops and no-till have impacted farm fields in the face of extreme weather patterns. A total of 22 producers participated in the focus groups, representing 15 states. Reports compiled following the discussion are available to farmers considering what their options are, and provides an overview of the producers’ testimony, examining how they and their neighbors are responding to extreme weather events. The report states, “producers said they believe soil health practices make their operations more resilient in several ways,” allowing them to “withstand the extremes.” Find the reports online at www.nacdnet.org.

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Massive Ag Coalition Urges USMCA Ratification

More than 950 agribusinesses and farm groups are urging Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement quickly. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have all taken the first steps towards ratifying the agreement that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. However, recent threats of additional tariffs, and the slow pace of politics, are concerning for farmers and ranchers. Chuck Conner, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives president and CEO, says USMCA “will provide an important source of certainty in a climate where that commodity is in short supply.” The group is urging lawmakers to “move quickly to bringing up the agreement” once it is formally submitted to Congress. Mexico is expected to ratify the agreement next week, following negotiations with the U.S. last week to stop threatened tariffs by the Trump administration over migrants crossing the border into the United States. Trump claimed the recent talks would result in “immediate” sales of U.S. ag products to Mexico. However, Mexico confirmed Monday that the talks did not include a side deal for agriculture.

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American Drivers Reach 10 Billion Miles Driven on E15

As President Trump visited an Iowa ethanol plant Tuesday, Growth Energy announced U.S. drivers have reached 10 billion miles driven on E15. The announcement follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent notice to allow for year-round E15 sales, likely to increase the pace of growth and miles driven on E15. Growth Energy works with retailers to grow E15 availability, including recent expansions announced by Casey’s General Stores and others, to give more drivers access to E15. Growth Energy says E15 is currently sold at more than 1,800 stations in 31 states. President Trump promoted the recent rule allowing for year-round E15 as part of his Iowa trip. The President joined Iowa Representative Cindy Axne and Governor Kim Reynolds for a tour of  Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, along with EPA administer Andrew Wheeler. Trump also met with ethanol industry officials in Des Moines, including POET CEO Jeff Broin. The EPA announced the final rule to allow year-round E15 last month at a separate Iowa ethanol facility.

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USDA Helping Farmers, Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced 58 grants to help farmers and rural businesses to reduce energy costs. The grants, awarded in 17 states and Puerto Rico, are provided through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP. Congress allocated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in 2019. Tuesday’s announcement includes $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the coming weeks. Joel Baxley, acting assistant to the secretary for rural development, says lowering energy costs “helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs” in rural America. Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems, including insulation, lighting and refrigeration. Grants announced Tuesday include $100,000 for the University of Oregon to help rural agritourism operations and small businesses implement renewable energy systems. More examples of funded projects are available online at www.rd.usda.gov.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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06-11-19 USDA Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Biotech EO

USDA Secretary Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Biotech EO

Council Bluffs, IA., June 11, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump Signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order.
“Our current regulatory framework has impeded innovation instead of facilitating it. With this Executive Order, President Trump is once again putting America first and setting us on a course to modernize our regulatory framework so that it works for our farmers, ranchers, and consumers. We need all the tools in the toolbox to meet the challenge of feeding everyone now and into the future – if we do not put these safe biotechnology advances to work here at home, our competitors in other nations will,” said Secretary Perdue. “Science-based advances in biotechnology have great promise to enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of life across America’s heartland and around the globe. I applaud President Trump for signing this important Executive Order that will help America’s farmers do what we aspire to do at USDA: Do Right and Feed Everyone.”
Background:

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06-11-19 NASDA: Nearly 1000 Food & Agriculture Organizations Urge Congress to Swiftly Ratify USMCA

NASDA: Nearly 1000 Food & Agriculture Organizations Urge Congress to Swiftly Ratify USMCA

Arlington, VA – June 11, 2019 –

Letter

Date Sent
June 11, 2019
Sender
Agriculture Coalition Group
Recipient
U.S. House & Senate Leadership
183.18 KB, PDF
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer,
We, the undersigned organizations representing all segments of the U.S. food and agriculture value chain at the national, state and local levels, write to urge your strong support for swift ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA will benefit the U.S. agriculture and food industry while providing consumers a more abundant supply of high-quality, safe food at affordable prices.
Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA – growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018. NAFTA has significantly helped create a reliable, high-quality supply of food products for U.S. consumers, while supporting more than 900,000 American jobs in food and agriculture and related sectors of the economy. USMCA builds on the success of the NAFTA agreement, and will ultimately lead to freer markets and fairer trade. This modernized trade agreement makes improvements to further enhance U.S. food and agricultural exports to our neighbors and would deliver an additional $2.2 billion in U.S. economic activity.
The International Trade Commission’s new report, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and Specific Industry Sectors, confirms that the USMCA will improve market access for U.S. farmers, ranchers and food producers. The report states that USMCA would have “a positive impact on the U.S. agriculture sector.” Furthermore, it “would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy”, raising U.S. GDP by $68.2 billion. USMCA further strengthens U.S. food and agricultural trade by enhancing standards for biotechnology; reducing the use of trade distorting policies; establishing modern, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards; reinforcing disciplines for science-based SPS measures; improving grading standards and services; facilitating the marketing of food and agricultural products; and strengthening safeguards for commonly used food names. These advances help provide certainty in the North American market, which is essential to the success of American agriculture and retailers.
Given the significance of USMCA for the U.S. agriculture and food industry, we strongly urge that it be considered quickly, and we respectfully ask you to vote to ratify the agreement.

06-11-19 NPPC Supports Executive Order to Keep America First in Agriculture

NPPC Supports Executive Order to Keep America First in Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2019 Based on recommendations by the administration’s Rural Development Taskforce, President Trump today signed an executive order to streamline regulations for agriculture biotechnology, a development welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

“Agriculture is one of the crown jewels of the U.S. economy,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. “Today’s executive order paves the way for common sense regulation to keep America first in agriculture so that we remain the global leader in an economic sector that has offset the U.S. trade imbalance for decades and that is so critical for the prosperity of our rural communities.”

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06-11-19 LMA: Producer Comments Needed for USDA Study on Payment Protection

LMA: Producer Comments Needed for USDA Study on Payment Protection

When a livestock dealer’s check bounces, should the farmer or rancher who raised the cattle be able to get them back? 

USDA wants to hear from the livestock industry regarding potential changes to priority in livestock dealer default situations. The comment period is open through June 24.

While most people agree producers should be entitled to repossess livestock they sold and have not been paid for, too many sellers have learned the hard way that is not usually allowed under current law. Often times, when a dealer fails to pay, that dealer’s bank takes first priority in the cattle. The Eastern Livestock default in 2010 is the best-known example of this. Eastern owed approximately $112 million to creditors, and many sellers of livestock received less than 5 cents on the dollar from Eastern. Continue reading

06-11-19 CDPHE News: Air Quality Control Commission travels to rural Colorado for community input

CDPHE News: Air Quality Control Commission travels to rural Colorado for community input

Colorado Air Quality Control Commission to meet June 20 in Lamar

DENVER — The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission will hold a public comment session at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 20 in the Lamar Community Building’s multipurpose room, located at 610 S. 6th St. in Lamar, Colorado. Community members and government and elected officials interested in air quality issues throughout the region are encouraged to attend and provide their perspectives on air quality. The public comment session will conclude no later than 9 p.m., or earlier if all who want to speak have had a chance to do so. The commission will hold its regular monthly meeting beforehand at 9 a.m. in the same room.

“The commission continuously seeks input from residents about air quality in their communities, and sometimes that means holding evening meetings in different areas of the state,” said Trisha Oeth, director of environmental boards and commissions and the commission’s administrator. “Colorado is a large and diverse state, and the opportunity to meet residents where they live and work is vital to commissioners in fulfilling their responsibilities to protect air quality throughout the state.”

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06-11-19 NMPF Applauds Passage of H-2A Amendment Aiding Dairy Farmers

NMPF Applauds Passage of H-2A Amendment Aiding Dairy Farmers

ARLINGTON, Va. – From National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern:

“We greatly appreciate the work of Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on behalf of America’s dairy producers to include year-round employees on farms in the H-2A farm worker visa program. Continue reading

06-11-19 U.S. Pork Producers Seek Main Course, Not Crumbs

U.S. Pork Producers Seek Main Course, Not Crumbs

China Represents Single-Greatest Sales Opportunity in U.S. Pork History 

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 11, 2019 –Expanding U.S. export markets is vital to the success of American pork producers, but trade disputes with some of our top markets, most notably China, are hampering growth and have caused severe financial harm to U.S. hog farmers, National Pork Producers Council Vice President and Counsel of Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano said today at a Global Business Dialogue event in Washington, D.C.

“Mostly because of free trade agreements, the United States is the leading global exporter of pork. As a result, U.S. pork is an attractive candidate for trade retaliation. America’s hog farmers – and many other sectors of U.S. agriculture – have been at the tip of the trade retaliation spear for more than a year,” Giordano explained to the briefing at the National Press Club. Continue reading

06-11-19 USDA-NASS-CO: CROP PRODUCTION – June 2019

CROP PRODUCTION – June 2019

COLORADO HIGHLIGHTS

Winter wheat production in Colorado, based on conditions as of June 1, 2019, is forecast at 88.15 million bushels, according to the June 1 Agricultural Yield Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. This forecast is unchanged from the May 1 forecast and 26 percent above the 70.20 million bushel crop produced last year. Estimated acreage for harvest, at 2.15 million acres, is unchanged from May 1 and 200,000 acres more than the 1.95 million acres harvested in 2018. As of June 1, the average yield is forecast at 41.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the May 1 forecast and 5.0 bushels above last year’s final yield. As of June 2, Colorado’s winter wheat crop condition was rated 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 20 percent excellent, compared with 5 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 46 percent good, and 7 percent excellent last year.

UNITED STATES HIGHLIGHTS Continue reading

06-11-19 Dairy Farmers – Industry to Congress: Help Us by Passing USMCA

Dairy Farmers – Industry to Congress: Help Us by Passing USMCA

ARLINGTON, VA – The U.S. dairy industry is urging Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with an outreach campaign highlighting the importance of the agreement to the success of America’s dairy farmers and manufacturers.

In a letter sent to representatives of top-producing dairy states, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) detail how provisions of USMCA positively impact the U.S. dairy industry. The timely resolution of ongoing trade disputes and negotiations is critical to growing the dairy sector’s international market share as well as maintaining credibility with U.S. trading partners. Therefore, the dairy community is asking Congress for immediate passage of this important trade agreement.

The organizations write: Continue reading

06-11-19 Western Landowners Alliance Scholarships Steer Diversity into Western Ranch Management

WLA Scholarships Steer Diversity into Western Ranch Management

Mounting pressure on working lands spark need for educational opportunities for future land stewardship

Santa Fe, NM (June 10, 2019) – Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) – a member-based nonprofit organization focused on advancing policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes, and native species – has announced the availability of $1,500 scholarships to those in need of financial assistance to attend the 2019 Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship summer field course offered by the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at Colorado State University (CSU).  The course runs from July 14 – July 23 and July 28 – August 6, 2019 (attendance to both sessions is required).

“We recognize the inherent value of human diversity, broadly defined, and hope to encourage this diversity within the field of land and natural resources management,” said Lesli Allison, executive director at WLA.

“We also recognize the urgency in developing a new generation of individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to steward our land and natural resources,” said Allison.  “A pivotal shift is underway on ranches and farms across the country. As more land is developed, more pressure is put on remaining open lands to provide for everything from food, fiber and energy to wildlife, water and human recreation. Land managers today need to understand everything from ecology to livestock management to wildlife biology to GIS technology.” Continue reading

06-11-19 USDA-FAS: Members Named to Seven Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

USDA FAS - Foreign Agricultural Service header

USDA-FAS: Members Named to Seven Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

06-11-19 USDA Helps Farmers, Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs

USDA Helps Farmers, Businesses and Ag Producers Cut Energy Costs

CO: Shop-All Inc. $12,783 This Rural Development investment will be used to retrofit all old and inefficient fluorescent, incandescent, Halogen, HPS and MH light fixtures throughout this rural grocery store with new, efficient LED fixtures. These energy efficiency improvements will reduce the current electrical usage by 113,276 annually, which is a 59 percent reduction, and equivalent to the annual electrical usage for 12 homes. It will also reduce this rural small business’ electric bill by $11,441 annually.

CO: Darvin Meurisse $6,879 This Rural Development investment will be used to install an 11kW solar system. This project will replace 94 percent of their current electrical usage. This will save the borrower approximately $2,000 annually

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2019 – Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding 58 grants for projects in 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (PDF, 146 KB) to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses and institutions.
“Lowering energy costs helps businesses improve their bottom line and create jobs,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to increasing economic development in rural communities across the country through strong partnerships with rural businesses.”
USDA is providing the grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $1 million in renewable energy projects. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.

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