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South Dakotan producers given REAP funding

Monday, November 1, 2010

Grants from the USDA could help energy efficient farming in South Dakota.
Grants from the USDA could help energy efficient farming in South Dakota.

Farm equipment users in South Dakota are getting assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the form of more than $1.4 million in grants and loans.

The funding comes through the Rural Energy for America Program, which was created to help agricultural producers develop renewable and energy efficient projects. Eighteen of these initiatives in South Dakota were earmarked for REAP.

"These loans and grants will generate and save energy for South Dakota farmers and business for many years to come as they replace outdated equipment such as grain dryers so they can become more competitive and profitable," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Money from REAP can be used for a variety of projects, including feasibility studies, energy audits and development assistance. This is not the first time South Dakotan initiatives have received funding.

The USDA has tried to encourage farmers and ranchers to find environmentally friendly ways to carry out their business. It also came to a five-year agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop agriculturally based airplane fuels.

Doing so would not only give farmers a new market for their products, but would also help the country lessen its reliance on foreign oil.

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