WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that the Department is making up to $10 million available to help people living in rural towns develop community renewable energy projects that will help them cut their energy costs and contribute to the nationwide effort to reduce pollution that contributes to climate change. These funds will be targeted to help people who live in communities that have been historically underinvested and disinvested.
USDA is making the funds available through the new Rural Energy Pilot Program to help the people of rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before. Through this program, USDA is supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to making environmental justice a part of every agency’s mission to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.
“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is providing grant assistance for people who live in particularly underserved rural towns to help them cut their household energy costs and address climate change at the local level,” Vilsack said. “As we continue to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, USDA is targeting resources and investments to help meet our nation’s energy needs and combat climate change. The new program we’re announcing today will pilot the viability of community-scale renewable energy investments to mitigate the energy-burdened circumstances of particularly disadvantaged rural communities. This assistance will help to keep people in their hometowns by supporting good-paying jobs, business opportunities, and a more affordable cost of living.”
In Ohio, Johnathan McCracken has been appointed RD State Director for Ohio. McCracken is a native of Wilmington, Ohio. For the past 15 years, he has held various legislative positions related to agriculture, rural development, food, nutrition, energy, and environmental policy. Most recently, he served as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Prior to working for Senator Brown, McCracken began his career working for Senator Edward M. Kennedy. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University and earned a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.
RD State Directors serve as the chief executive officer of Rural Development in the states and territories and are tasked with carrying out the mission of Rural Development to the benefit of everyone in rural America. In conjunction with the guidance and support of the National Office, State Directors are responsible for promoting the mission and strategic goals of Rural Development and provide key leadership to develop and support a productive, diverse, and inclusive state workforce.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
Details on an upcoming informational webinar is forthcoming and will be posted to the Rural Energy Pilot Program webpage.
Prospective applicants must inform the Agency by submitting a required Letter of Intent prior to submission of a complete application. The letters must be submitted via electronic upload into a secure cloud vault, by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 19, 2022.
Application guides and submission information are available on the program website, under the To Apply tab, www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/energy-programs/rural-energy-pilot-program.
For additional information, see page 2747 of the Jan. 19 Federal Register (PDF, 278 KB).