Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the availability of funding under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems for agriculture producers and rural small businesses. "Renewable energy production represents a promising revenue source for America's producers while meeting the nation's need for new sources of renewable energy," Vilsack said. "These grants will help encourage the development of viable renewable energy projects across the nation and help small business owners, farmers, ranchers, and agriculture producers conduct feasibility studies that identify renewable energy opportunities."

Eligible feasibility studies for renewable energy systems include projects that will produce energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power, and hydrogen-based sources. The energy to be produced includes heat, electricity, or fuel. For all projects, the system must be located in a rural area, must be technically feasible, and must be owned by the applicant.

Under this notice, USDA is making $3 million available to conduct feasibility studies. Grants are limited to $50,000 per study and the application deadline is October 5. The funding announced today is authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. More information on how to apply for funding is available in the August 6, 2010 Federal Register, page 47525.