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2012 Application Deadlines Announced for Rural Energy for America Program


2012 Application Deadlines Announced for Rural Energy for America Program

Application deadlines for the 2012 Rural Energy for America Program ( (REAP) are set:

Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance: ( Feb. 21, 2012.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grants: ( March 30, 2012.

Feasibility Study Grants: ( March 30, 2012.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Guarantee Loan Only: ( June 29, 2012.

More information on each program is available by clicking on the above links, or by reading the Jan. 20, 2012 edition of the Federal Register. (

In 2011, 122 farmers and rural small businesses in Minnesota were selected to receive almost $3 million in REAP loans and grants. The investments saved over 33 million kilowatt hours of energy and potentially generated over 1.7 million kilowatt hours from renewable energy sources.

Solar panels are one example of renewable energy projects eligible for REAP funds. Others include wind turbines, geothermal, refrigeration, lighting, heating, cooling and anaerobic digestion.

REAP Program Cuts Energy Costs for Grocery Store in Spring Grove

Pat Longmire has owned a grocery store in Spring Grove, Minn., for 22 years. He knows customers want fresh produce, quality meats and weekly deals that save a buck here and there.

But he wasn’t sure how customers would react after he put glass doors on the coolers in the store. Longmire didn’t have to worry for long, however.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

Longmire used a grant from USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to purchase and install the doors. The doors resulted in a savings of about $500 per month on heating, cooling and electricity bills.

“It’s the smartest thing we could have done,” he said. “You get return on your investment back quickly.”

With rising energy costs and the grocery industry trying to be more energy efficient, Longmire knew the time was now to make the upgrade.

He originally considered replacing all the coolers in the store, but decided using the REAP program to install doors on the existing coolers was a better option. The entire project was completed for what it would have cost to replace just one cooler.

Longmire set the thermostat inside the store to 72 degrees when he had open coolers. Since the doors were added, he sets the temperature to 68 degrees and the store actually feels warmer than it did at 72.

“We were just wasting energy before,” Longmire said. “If every store across the country did what we did, the impact would be dramatic. It’s just one little thing, but it’s making everything more efficient.”

Without the REAP program, Longmire’s energy costs would have kept going up. Instead, he was able to do something about it and use the money he saves to improve his business and contribute to the local economy.

“This program really helps businesses like mine do projects like this and stay competitive,” Longmire said. “It’s great.”

Pat Longmire used the REAP program to purchase and install doors for his coolers at Red's IGA in Spring Grove.

Dentist and Chiropractor in Elgin are Small-Town Success Stories

If you’re looking to shatter any preconceived notions you might have about rural Minnesota, take a trip to Elgin, Minn., and spend some time with Dr. Julee Kingsley and Dr. Colleen Urbain.

Kingsley, a dentist, and Urbain, a chiropractor, are young, female, married, moms and business owners who chose to locate their practices in a small town instead of an big city. To both of them, rural Minnesota wasn’t an obstacle, it was an opportunity.

“It’s been a good move for me all around,” Urbain said. “There’s a lot of advantages to running your business in a small town.”

Urbain’s and Kingsley’s offices are next to each other in the Elgin Professional Building. The City of Elgin (population 1,089) recently used a $396,000 loan from USDA Rural Development to purchase the building and renovate it to accommodate Kingsley’s dentist office and keep Urbain in the facility.

Urbain employs two people and Kingsley employs three. Both offices also have room to expand if needed.

Kingsley started her practice in August of 2010 after graduating from the University of Minnesota’s dental school and practicing as an associate in Rochester for a couple of years. She grew up in Elgin and never had any doubts about returning to her small-town roots.

“There’s such a need,” she said. “I’m not worried about the business end of things. I knew this is what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.”

Too often we hear about young people with an entrepreneurial spirit leaving their small town for college or other opportunities and never returning. We don’t hear enough about the Dr. Kingsley’s and Dr. Urbain’s of rural Minnesota.

Both are living proof that there is economic opportunity in rural areas and that the rural economy is much more than traditional agriculture and manufacturing. Oh, and both are proof that living in a small town is fun, too.

“I see my old high school teachers and people I used to baby sit for coming in,” Kingsley said. “It’s so much fun. Sometimes I even see the ‘babies’ I used to baby sit for coming in with their own kids.”

Take a walk with Urbain through her 1,500 square foot office – past the adjustment chairs, massage table and model of the human spine -- and you notice something else about this rural entrepreneur: Pride.

She’s proud that people talk about her practice and that a lot of her business comes via word of mouth.

“I draw from other small towns in the entire region,” she said. “When you operate in a small town, word spreads quickly.”

7 Minnesota Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses Selected to Receive $1.6 Million in Value-Added Producer Grants

Seven agricultural producers and rural small businesses in Minnesota were selected to receive over $1.6 million in Value-Added Producer Grants. (

The projects are located in Kerkhoven, Clearbrook, Ashby, New Prague, Pierz, Alexandria and Duluth. Nationally, 298 projects totaling more than $40 million were announced (

Pastures A Plenty (

A $300,000 grant will be used as working capital to grow sales of value-added pork products.

Clearbrook Elevator Association (Clearbrook)

A $300,000 grant will be used for working capital for a soybean extruder enterprise that adds value to organically produced soybeans.

TFC Poultry ( (Ashby)

A $300,000 grant will be used will be used for working capital to expand and market locally raised poultry products.

Cedar Summit Dairy ( (New Prague)

A $300,000 grant will be used to market existing products, introduce new products and purchase additional raw milk to meet increased demand for branded products.

Smude Enterprises (

A $298,500 grant will be used for working capital to produce and distribute locally produced sunflower oil.

American Ag Energy of Minnesota (Alexandria)

A $100,000 grant will be used for planning and feasibility activities for a biofuel pellet plant.

Duluth Market Gardeners and Berry Association (Duluth)

An $18,986 grant will be used to fund a feasibility study to determine the economic feasibility of establishing a formal farmer cooperative made up of independent producers at the Duluth Farmers Market.

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies, business plans, working capital for valued-added agricultural products and farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures.

Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.

Minnesota 2020 recently sat down with State Director Landkamer to discuss Rural Development. See the story here. (

Our website ( recently underwent a makeover. While you're there, be sure to check which office ( serves your community.

Program Information

Single-Family Housing (

Multi-Family Housing (

Community Programs (

Business & Cooperative (

Energy Programs (

Program Brochures (

Application Deadlines

Rural Energy for America Program (

Deadlines vary. See website. (

Repowering Assistance Payments ( (9004)

June 1, 2012

Rural Business Enterprise Grants (

May 4, 2012

[% link: name="Home Loans & Home Repair LoansGrants" content="Home Loans & Home Repair Loans/Grants

" %]Ongoing.

[% link: name="Water & Wastewater Programs" content="Water & Wastewater Programs

" %]Ongoing

[% link: name="Community Facility Programs" content="Community Facility Programs

" %]Ongoing.


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USDA Rural Development, 375 Jackson St., #410, St. Paul, MN 55101 • (651) 602-7800

For a complete listing of area Rural Development offices throughout Minnesota,



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