April 24, 2023
A coalition of 117 agriculture, trade, environmental and business groups have signed a letter calling on Congress to fully fund the popular Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which brings energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities to farms, ranches and rural small businesses across the country.
“REAP has broad support across American society, as this letter shows, because it serves so many and provides so many benefits for improved farm income, environmental protection and rural economic development,” said Andy Olsen, Senior Policy Advocate of the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
The 117 organizations that signed on to support REAP include national and state-level agricultural and producer groups, alongside environmental advocates and key business leaders. This diverse coalition highlights how support for the program transcends issue and sector.
“REAP supports both our nation’s farms and the environment, a winning combination,” said Adam Warthesen, Director of Government & Industry Affairs for Wisconsin-based food cooperative Organic Valley. “As a cooperative that markets our farmer’s milk, agriculture products with sustainable origins are increasingly important to our customers. REAP leverages investments that make farms more efficient and desirable partners within the food/farm supply chain.”
Since its inception, REAP has helped over 22,000 farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to implement renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. REAP is popular and widely supported, with applications greatly exceeding available funds.
“Tennessee poultry growers support REAP because it helps our members cut costs, increase incomes and reduce their carbon footprint, which is increasingly important in today’s marketplace,” said Dale Barnett, Executive Director of the Tennessee Poultry Association.
Through energy audits and renewable energy development assistance, REAP opens new opportunities for more farmers and rural small businesses in every state and across agricultural sectors. REAP supports a wide range of clean energy choices that help cut farm input costs and increase income; REAP supports wind and solar power, energy efficiency and more.
The letter, sent Monday, calls on Congressional Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees leaders to support the Rural Energy for America Program with full mandatory and discretionary funding as they consider agriculture appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2024.