162 farmers and small business owners in Minnesota are set to receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to spur the implementation of green technology in farming practices. The USDA awarded the grants this week.
The funds come from the USDA's Rural Energy for American Program, an initiative that aims to lower U.S. energy costs in more rural areas and to develop additional sources of renewable energies. Recently, the USDA has encouraged farmers to employ green technology to both reduce farming costs and promote sustainability.
Of the grants Minnesotans stand to receive, most will go towards aiding farmers in upgrading their grain dryer systems. The USDA Rural Development Program estimates that the improvements will increase energy efficiency by up to 30 percent in many instances. A majority of the grants are awarded in sums of either $500,000 or $250,000: the former for renewable energy systems and the latter for energy efficiency improvements.
Outside of Minnesota, 517 farmers will receive grants and loans that total more than $30 million. Farmers able to demonstrate financial need are awarded the most in subsidies.