USDA Helps Iowans Buy Energy Efficient Grain Dryers

Program will distribute $1.28 million to assist farmers in Iowa with purchase of grain drying systems that are more energy efficient. Brian Sexton

Twenty Iowa farmers and rural businesses are receiving $1.28 million in guaranteed loans and grants through the USDA's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program. The money will be used to help pay for new, more efficient grain drying systems, says Mark Reisinger, director of USDA's Rural Development agency in Iowa. USDA made the announcement June 5 regarding this latest round of funding awarded through the program.

"With rising energy costs, it is important that farmers, grain elevators and other businesses look for ways to become more energy efficient," says Reisinger. "We are very pleased that Iowans continue to be very successful at receiving funding through this program."

The past two years, 103 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Iowa have received $26.68 million in guaranteed loans or grants from USDA Rural Development.

Next application deadline for funds is July 2

"There is an additional application deadline approaching for this program," he notes. "Applications for guaranteed loans, and a combination grant and guaranteed loan must be received by July 2 to be considered for 2007 funding."

Eligible projects fall into two categories. One use is to finance the installation of renewable energy systems—such as small and large wind turbines, solar, geothermal, biodiesel, ethanol, anaerobic digesters or hydrogen. The other use is to fund energy efficiency projects—including installing new electric motors that are more efficient, adding insulation and improving electrical or heating and cooling systems.

Restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, greenhouses, cold storage, ethanol plants, manufacturing facilities and other businesses that require a large amount of energy to operate may benefit from an energy-efficient upgrade that these funds could help finance, says Reisinger.

Guaranteed loans can be issued for up to 50% of the project costs. Minimum guaranteed loan is $5,000; maximum guarantee is $10 million. A combination grant and guaranteed loan can be requested for up to 50% of eligible project costs. More information and application forms can be found at www.energygrantiwoa.com or call the USDA Rural Development state office in Des Moines at 515-284-5714.

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