Administrator plan - Cleaner energy & fertilizer for U.S. agriculture

Apr 01, 2024


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making a strategic move to invest in the nation's agricultural and rural business sectors with a new $124 million funding initiative. Announced by Secretary Tom Vilsack, this investment focuses on renewable energy and fertilizer production projects to bolster the economy from the ground up, particularly in rural areas across 44 states. This initiative is a direct result of the funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, demonstrating a historic commitment to combating climate change and supporting agricultural markets. 

The investment is divided among several innovative projects. The majority goes to the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which supports the adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and small rural businesses.  

Projects range from wind turbines and solar panels to biomass furnaces, all aimed at reducing energy costs and carbon footprints. An example is the installation of wind turbines by Darr Grain in Nebraska, which will significantly cut down its electrical costs and reliance on non-renewable energy. 

Additionally, the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program (FPEP) is set to receive funding to encourage the domestic production of fertilizer. This not only aims to reduce dependency on international sources but also to innovate in creating more sustainable fertilization methods. For instance, Bluestem Systems in Iowa and Nebraska is developing a process to create dry fertilizer mixes that are expected to benefit over 1,500 producers. 

This comprehensive approach not only aims to make agricultural operations more efficient and sustainable but also contributes to the Administration's larger goal of fostering clean energy economies and strengthening the U.S. supply chain. The USDA's continued investment in rural development and sustainable agriculture practices marks a pivotal step towards a resilient and environmentally friendly agricultural sector.

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