USDA announces renewable energy project funding across Mississippi

USDA announces renewable energy project funding across Mississippi

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



Itta Bena, MS, July 6- Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager announced the selection of eight recipients for grants to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in Mississippi. Tonsager made the announcement during a visit to the state. He was accompanied by Natural Resources and Environment Under Secretary Harris Sherman.

“These grants enable our farmers, ranchers and small business owners to develop renewable energy systems and improve energy efficiency to save thousands of kilowatt hours (kwh) of energy annually,” Tonsager said. “This funding is an important part of the Obama Administration's plan to conserve natural resources, combat global warming, create more green jobs and lead us on the path to becoming an energy independent nation.”

Funds are being provided through the Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant program, a 2008 Farm Bill initiative. For example, John and Franky Parker of Sunflower, MS -, have been selected for a $46,972 grant to replace an outdated grain drying system with a new, efficient continuous flow grain dryer. The Parker brothers operate a 2,330-acre grain farm. On their farm, all of the harvested corn, rice and soybeans must go through the grain drying system. It is estimated that this energy-efficiency improvement will save the business 266,956 kwh of energy annually.

REAP offers funds for farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and for energy-efficiency improvements. Grants can finance up to 25 percent of a project's cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewables, $250,000 for efficiency. In all, USDA announced $213,800 in grants today to expand economic opportunities for Mississippi residents and businesses.

The funds announced today are part of USDA's annual budget and are not from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Funding of each grant is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the agreement. A complete listing of the loan and grant awards follows:

Mississippi Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant Recipients:

  • Silent Shade Plantation: $16,204 grant; to install a high-efficiency grain dryer. Improvements are projected to save 154,751 kwh of energy annually.

  • Galen Gable: $5,292 grant; to install an oxygen monitoring system with computers to control electric aerators on six catfish production ponds. Improvements are projected to save 98,623 kwh of energy annually.

  • Dunn Hill Farms: $8,618 grant; to install attic inlets and vent machines for energy efficiency improvements to 10 poultry broiler grower houses. Improvements are projected to save 189,160 kwh of energy annually.

  • Failing Farms: $20,000 grant; to retrofit existing dryer systems with energy-efficient blower fans and motors. Improvements are projected to save 117,535 kwh of energy annually.

  • TWGWM Pitts, LLC: $45,665 grant; to purchase a new energy-efficient continuous flow grain dryer. Improvements are projected to save 297,694 kwh of energy annually.

  • Holly Ridge Partnership: $27,522 grant; to install an oxygen monitoring system with computers to control the electric aerators on 34 catfish production ponds. Improvements are projected to save 287,987 kwh of energy annually.

  • Jubilee Farms Inc.: $43,527 grant; to install a new energy-efficient deep water well system. Improvements are projected to save 328,332 kwh of energy annually.

  • Parker Brothers II: $46,972 grant; to purchase a new, efficient continuous flow grain dryer. Improvements are projected to save 266,956 kwh of energy annually.

In fiscal year 2009, the Rural Energy for America Program helped fund 1,557 renewable energy projects in 50 states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific Islands. Spencer Pope Farms of Carthage, MS received a $20,000 grant to install solar panels on its poultry house. This renewable energy system allowed the farm to save 11,268 kwh of energy annually.

In addition to the REAP projects, USDA Rural Development has worked to create jobs, assists businesses and develop economic opportunity throughout Mississippi. Many projects have been aided using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The following is a list of projects recently funded by USDA (Not all projects are ARRA).

Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels - FY 2009

  • Greenlight Biofuels, Produced advanced biofuel using poultry fat (approximately 823,000 gallons). Received a $68,344.55 payment from USDA.
  • Scott Petroleum Corp., Produced advanced biofuel using poultry fat, white grease, waste grease etc. (approximately. 4,647,354 gallons). Received a $231,301.43payment from USDA.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

  • Preston Arrington Farms-Inverness, MS - Replacement of Grain Dryer ($35,640 grant)
  • Wesley Bass-Columbia, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($19,498 grant)
  • Bassfield J&L Laundromat-Bassfield, MS - Replacement of washers ($5,809 grant)
  • Malcolm Bracey-Tylertown, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($16,436)
  • Billy Davidson-Union, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($24, 217)
  • First National of Vicksburg-Vicksburg, MS - Replacement of ac/heating units in commercial building ($65,367)
  • Joseph Lathem-Walnut Grove, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($50,000)
  • Tinh Le-Wesson, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($17,806)
  • Timothy Leonard-Summit, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($35,168)
  • Mytho FarMS --Carthage, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($48,100)
  • Johnny Nguyen- Lawrence, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($26,987)
  • Spencer Pope Farms - Carthage, MS - Installation of solar panels on poultry house ($20,000)
  • Lisa Rushing-Lena, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($4,910)
  • Craig Thames- Collins, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($19,991)
  • Danny Thornton-Carthage, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($40,023)
  • Beverly Tucker-Bay Springs, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($17,715)
  • Raymond Wilbanks-Carthage, MS - Energy efficiency improvements to poultry houses ($29,648)

Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Projects - FY 2010

  • Big Bay Lake Development-Purvis, MS - ($7,498,474-ARRA) Develop 575 acres for a housing development; will create 38 jobs.
  • Hood Equipment Company-Batesville, MS - ($350,000-ARRA) Restructure of debt; will save 23 jobs.
  • KGC Properties and Coleman & Coleman Enterprises-Oxford, MS - ($600,000-ARRA) Restructure of debt; will save 5 jobs.
  • RBR ENTERPRISE, LLC-Byhalia, MS - ($2,500,000-ARRA) Refinance debt and provide working capital to expand business; will save 30 jobs and create 20 jobs.
  • SHAG of Mississippi- Purvis, MS - ($705,000-ARRA) Construct a Dollar General store in Limon, Colo.; will create and save26 jobs.
  • SHAG of Mississippi-Purvis, MS - ($725,000-ARRA) Construct a Dollar General store in Florence, Colo.; will create 11 jobs.
  • SHAG of Mississippi-Purvis, MS - ($750,000-ARRA) Construct a Dollar General store in Phillipsburg, Kan.; will create 11 jobs.
  • Shuqualak Lumber Company - Shuqualak, MS - ($1,500,000-ARRA) Restructure debt; will save 119 jobs.
  • Southern Components, Inc.- Tupelo, MS - ($5,200,000-ARRA) Refinance debt, purchase equipment and pay off debt; will save 65 jobs and create 35 jobs.
  • WAYS, Inc.- Ruleville, MS -.($7,450,000-ARRA) Purchase an existing home health-care facility and expand the operation; will save 40 jobs.
  • Pizza Hattiesburg, LLC- Hattiesburg, MS - ($5,000,000-ARRA) Restructure debt; will save 15 jobs.
  • Rives and Reynolds Lumber Co.- Louisville, MS - ($5,000,000-ARRA) Restructure debt and grow the business; will save an estimated 133 jobs.
  • Southern Development of Mississippi-Purvis, MS - ($350,000-ARRA) Refinance debt on a Family Dollar General store; will save 5 jobs.
  • Delta Oil Mill-Greenwood, MS - ($6,000,000-ARRA) Purchase and expand an existing facility; will create an estimated 30 jobs.

USDA, through its Rural Development Mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in the nation's capital and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $140 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

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