(NPN) – South Dakota companies and individuals received over three quarters of a millions dollars in energy grants from the USDA Friday.

Eighteen South Dakotans or their companies received $766,706 in grants.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $14 million in funding for 424 projects across the nation.  He says the grants or loans will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs and use renewable energy technologies in their operations.
"Today's Rural Energy for America Program announcements will provide further assistance for agricultural producers and rural small business owners to save energy, promote renewable energy creation, and boost the bottom line for their operation," Vilsack said. "By investing in renewable energy created in rural America, USDA is able to provide new income opportunities in our small towns while supporting the Obama Administration's comprehensive effort to combat the impacts of a changing climate."
Vilsack noted that the funding announcement is another reminder of the importance of Farm Bill programs for the economic vitality of rural America, and a compelling reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill passed as soon as possible. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy, Vilsack added.
The Rural Energy for America Program offers financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements. These federal funds leverage other private funding sources for businesses.
Under REAP, up to 25 percent of an eligible renewable energy system or energy efficiency improvement project can be funded through a grant, and additional support can be provided in the form of a loan guarantee. Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has helped fund more than 8,250 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide.
View the list of recipients announced today under the Rural Energy for America Program. Each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant or loan agreement.
The chart below indicates the South Dakota recipients, the amount of their grant and their project.