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Poultry, catfish farmers receive REAP grants for energy improvements

Broilers grown by contract in Bryan, Texas.USDA CatfishAROUND MISSISSIPPI — Nine poultry and catfish producers in Mississippi have been selected to receive a total of $288,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make energy efficiency improvements to their operations.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants were approved for operations in Bay Springs, Brooksville, Carthage, Indianola, Magnolia, Mt. Olive, Osyka, Stringer and Waynesboro. The REAP grants range in value from $79,303 to $5,121.

“Energy costs are a major factor for agriculture producers. The Rural Energy for America Program was reauthorized in the 2014 farm bill to continue helping farming operations lower their production costs through energy savings,” said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Administered by USDA Rural Development, REAP was created to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses in making energy efficiency improvements or installing renewable energy systems. In reauthorizing REAP, the 2014 farm bill streamlined the application process for farmers and rural businesses applying for small and medium sized projects.

The awards to Mississippi are among the 540 REAP grant and loan guarantees approved for rural energy projects nationwide.

The 2014 REAP Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant Program awards to Mississippi include two awards to support the installation of oxygen monitoring systems with computers to control electric aerators on more than 125 catfish ponds.

Five grants were awarded to poultry producers in Mississippi to install energy efficiency lighting, fans, doors, insulation and other equipment on poultry broiler grower and production houses. Other grants will support the installation of a bio-energy, renewable biomass system and an 84-kilowatt large solar photovoltaic system to improve energy efficiency at two poultry operations.

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