As Congress looks to scale back on government spending, some of the programs made available by the 2008 Farm Bill are being considered for those cuts.
One of these is the Rural Energy for America Progam (REAP). REAP was enacted by the 2008 Farm bill and provides grants for renewable energy development and energy efficiency improvements. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can provide up to 25% of the eligible program’s costs.
REAP was designed to assist those in rural areas. Therefore, eligible parties include: farmers, ranchers, small businesses located in rural areas and rural electric cooperatives. If a renewable energy system is developed it must be within the rural area, technically feasible and be owned by the applicant.
Cutting funding for these programs directly threatens to eliminate the pathway towards increased sustainability, wiser use of energy resources, greater investments in rural communities, and more confidence in the energy security of our nation. The defunding or full elimination of the energy programs in the Farm Bill will stall or reverse the progress to achieve as a result of the deployment of farm, ranch, and forestry-based renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures.