PORTLAND, Oregon, August 23, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is awarding $155,000 in grants to help 14 agricultural producers and rural businesses in Oregon reduce their energy costs, announced State Director John Huffman today.

In Wallowa County, three businesses have reaped rewards from the program. The Mountain View Motel in Joseph received a $8,077 grant to purchase and install a 9-kilowatt solar array. This renewable energy system will replace nine percent of the business’s energy use and reduce its utility bill by $1,395 per year.

Other local awardees include Integrated Biomass in Wallowa, with a grant of $2,655 to improve lighting and Hillock Insurance, which received $4,470 to install a solar array system.

“Small businesses and ag producers are vital for the rural economy,” said Huffman. “These grants will help improve their bottom line by reducing their utility bills through energy efficiency improvements and the adoption of renewable energy.”

The funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which can be used to install renewable energy systems, such as bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar systems. Funding provided through this program can also be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; insulation; lighting; refrigeration; and irrigation systems, among others.

The funding for these Oregon projects is part of a nationwide announcement of $9.3 million in grants across all states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the coming months.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and healthcare facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.

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