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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

The USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty, the department notes. REAP, authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill), is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation's critical energy needs.

The USDA is now accepting the following applications:

- Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until April 30;

- Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications until July 15; and

- Renewable energy system feasibility study grant applications through April 30.


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