As agriculture continues to launch forward into the future of technology many producers are at a loss at how to capture funding when it comes to implementation. Bruce Everly of Energy Improvement Matters, LLC (EIM) has taken a personal interest in assisting those in agriculture obtain grant monies to aid in the cost of technology advancement.
The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) can provide funding assistance for energy saving equipment, renewable energy options, and value-added projects. In addition to these types of government programs, utility companies often also provide a form of subsidy for energy efficient upgrades.
“This money does not need to be repaid as it is a grant, there is only an application fee up front,” says Everly. The program put together by his company EIM takes what could be a days-long process for an individual and condenses that into four to six hours. “The government needs a lot of information, they want to know how much energy you’re using right now, what it is you want to buy, and they want to see your taxes,” Everly says. Through the discovery process Everly and his team provide an audit that provides energy use projections and creates the 120-page application. Building on that they also provide the utility companies and economic development programs with their required information so that funds may be acquired from every available source.
There are a few stipulations the USDA requires to approve an application; the project must be compliant, in an area with population less than fifty thousand, must be an agriculture-based project that has previously been using energy. These programs are available in all fifty states, and while not as robust as the U.S. side there are similar programs in Canada that Everly and his team can assist with.
Each year there are two rounds of applications, one for small projects of less than $25,000 in October and one for larger projects less than $200,000 in April. Everly says, “Don’t be intimidated. It takes time, but you can make $25,000-$50,000 in six hours; and anyone can do it!” Energy is becoming a very controllable cost. In an industry where profits rely heavily on uncontrollable circumstances; weather, markets, etc. it makes absolute sense to take advantage of these programs offered.
Jeff Fjelstul, Director of Sales at AGI, works frequently with Everly for his producers. “SureTrack can provide energy models that show the energy savings,” says Fjelstul. Making AGI and their products a large market eligible for these types of grants.
There are many types of grants and programs available to agriculture producers from the government and private sectors. By developing a plan and teaming with partners like EIM the input cost can be driven down significantly while reaping the benefits of long-term savings.