The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will host workshops designed to inform state farmers and forest landowners about renewable energy and energy efficiency funding opportunities available through state and federal agencies.
The free workshops, which focus on financial incentives available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) and the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, will be held Jan. 13 and Jan. 19.
‘I encourage farmers to attend one of these important workshops, where they can learn how to navigate the complex network of funding programs and prepare for the coming year by learning more about the financial incentives and technical assistance associated with energy sustainability,’ says Scott Soares, commissioner of the DAR.
Sponsored by the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program, which is supported by the DAR and the USDA, the workshops include an overview of technical and financial assistance programs, eligibility requirements and anticipated application announcements.
One funding opportunity is the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which supports a diverse range of clean energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. In 2009, REAP awarded 14 Massachusetts rural small businesses and farmers $2.4 million in grants and $1.6 million in loans.
The USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program provided $1.9 million to Massachusetts agricultural producers last year for nine wind, solar photovoltaic and anaerobic digestion projects, as well as 31 energy efficiency projects, including cranberry auto-start irrigation systems and greenhouse thermal blankets and fans.