UAPB helping agriculture producers and rural small business owners REAP benefits

Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

stockvault-in-the-open-field101207PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Agriculture producers and rural small business owners interested in purchasing renewable energy systems and or making energy improvements may be interested in the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP), says Dr. Henry English, director, Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

REAP provide assistance in the form of guaranteed loans and grants. A grant of up to 25 percent of the eligible project cost and a guaranteed loan up to 75 percent of the eligible project cost are available through REAP, says Dr. English. Applicants have the option of applying for a grant only, a guaranteed loan only or a combination of the two to assist in the financing of their project.

An example of an energy efficiency improvement project would be the replacement of an old, inefficient diesel motor on an irrigation well with a new electric, more efficient one. The total project cost may be $50,000, but a REAP grant would provide 25 percent or $12,500, says Dr. English.

A small business energy efficient project could be the replacement of an old freezer or cooler with a more efficient one. Examples of energy efficiency projects could include poultry house lighting, insulation, heating and air; lighting for grocery stores. Renewable energy examples include wind, geothermal, solar, both photovoltaic and thermal, biomass and hydroelectric sources.

The UAPB Small Farm Program is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) to identify socially disadvantaged producers, small producers and rural small businesses who may benefit from REAP and to help with the application process.

For more information, help with the application process or if you know someone who could benefit from REAP, contact the Small Farm Program at (870) 575-7226 or an extension associate in your area.

Area UAPB extension associates are Arlanda Jacobs (870) 714 5531, Lee, Monroe, Phillips and Arkansas counties; Stephan Walker (870) 575-7237, Pulaski, Lonoke, Jefferson and Lincoln counties; or Kandi Williams (903) 306-8663, Howard, Sevier, Hempstead, Little River, Miller and Lafayette counties. Also working with the UAPB extension associates is Alex Cole of the East Arkansas Enterprise Community, who will be covering St. Francis County. Cole can be reached at (870) 630-2005.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Program offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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