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New Jersey Ag Producer Receives $15 Million Investment for Clean Energy Production as Part of Investing in America Agenda

In conjunction with Earth Day 2024, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is funding more than 700 clean energy projects to lower energy bills, expand access to domestic biofuels and create jobs and new market opportunities for U.S. farmers and agricultural producers.

The projects are largely funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and advance President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to grow the nation’s economy from the middle out and bottom up. The intent is to create jobs and spur economic growth in rural communities by increasing competition in agricultural markets, lowering costs and build more clean energy projects.

More than $194 million in loans and grants have been made available to support projects in 35 states across the country, including a significant Rural Energy for America (REAP) project investment in New Jersey:

  • Oishii Mega Farm NJ LLC will use a $15 million loan to convert a vacant building in Phillipsburg, NJ, into an energy efficient production facility to grow Omakase and Koyo strawberries. The facility will include a high-tech indoor vertical farming operation and facilities to harvest, package, ship and distribute produce. The project will create 45 new jobs and reduce operating costs by $150,000 annually by being able to grow strawberries in a more efficient and controlled environment.

The REAP program is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar, geothermal and small hydropower energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families.

“Knowing this $15 million investment will help Oishii Mega Farm expand its footprint and increase production while offsetting energy costs and creating jobs a testament to the impact of President Biden’s economic agenda to strengthen our economy and invest in rural businesses,” said Jane Asselta, New Jersey Rural Development state director. “New Jersey’s farmers and rural small businesses can count on the USDA and will have several more opportunities to apply for grant funding so they can save on their energy costs too.”

Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA has invested more than $2 billion through REAP to support renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will help rural business owners lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen their resiliency of operations.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to expanding access to modern clean energy systems and fueling options that strengthen the nation’s energy independence while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money,” Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “As we celebrate Earth Day this year, we are excited to partner with hundreds more family farms and small businesses to address the impacts of climate change, grow the economy and keep rural communities throughout the country strong and resilient.”

New Jersey Rural Development will continue to accept REAP applications and hold funding competitions quarterly through Sept. 30, 2024. The funding includes a dedicated portion for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information contact Business Programs Manager, Maryann Tancredi, at maryann.tancredi@usda.gov

USDA 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.

Source : usda.gov

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