Gov. Scott Walker announced Wisconsin farmers have the opportunity to apply for grant funding to buy energy efficient grain dryers. The USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps eligible applicants install renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements, such as grain dryers which save more than 5,700 gallons of propane for every 100,000 bushels of corn dried.
"Due to the propane shortage, many people are facing safety issues and financial hardships, and it's not over yet," Gov. Walker said. "Working to solve the crisis is ongoing, and we will continue to seek out programs like this, that ease the demand for propane and improve access for everyone who needs it."
"It is important to support both our agricultural industry and our residents," said DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch. "By using more energy efficient grain dryers during the fall agricultural harvest, farmers save in energy costs and leave more propane for home heating and other uses during the colder winter months."
The DOA's Division of Energy Services State Energy Office is committed to connecting farmers and small businesses with energy saving programs such as REAP. REAP funds up to 25 percent of an eligible energy efficient grain dryer through grants and provides additional support through the form of loans.
Small rural businesses, farmers, and agricultural producers are eligible to apply if they:
· Get 50 percent or more of their gross income from agricultural production;
· Are located in a rural area that has a population of less than 50,000 people; and
· Apply by July 7.
For more information on REAP and to apply online, go to www.Grants.gov, or email Brenda Heinen at Brenda.Heinen@wi.usda.gov.
In March, a bipartisan group of Midwestern Governors selected Gov. Scott Walker to serve as chair of the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA). Gov. Walker said his primary focus as chair will be on strengthening the propane supply chain.
A working group comprised of government leaders, industry leaders, and those working in and with the propane industry will work together to improve propane operations, enhance consumer awareness, and strengthen industry preparedness.