News Release 485

Department awards more than $6 million in grants to help farmers save energy and money

Volume 38-485 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Dalena Hardy
573-526-5308

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 19, 2010 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced today that more than 1,600 Missouri farmers are reaping the rewards of energy savings thanks to the Energize Missouri Agriculture cost-share grants. Missouri farmers have been awarded $6.1 million in cost share grants through the end of July.

Missouri farmers are facing increasingly shrinking profit margins – the difference between operating in the black and operating in the red may well be determined by whether they’re operating in the “green.” While many factors facing farmers are beyond their control, such as the weather and the markets, there is an important factor within their control – energy usage. 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources developed the cost-share grant program to reimburse farmers up to 75 percent of the cost of energy-saving equipment and systems.  Farmers received grants to purchase energy-saving equipment such as: solar powered livestock watering systems, solar powered fencers, GPS and auto-steer systems for tractors and applicators, and irrigation system upgrades and improvements.

“Few have more at stake when it comes to the quality of our natural resources than the agricultural community,” said Department Director Mark N. Templeton. “And this energy-efficient cost-sharing program is an innovative initiative to benefit that community.  The response to the program has been tremendous. We were pleased with the tremendous response from farmers throughout the state.”

A technical review panel within the Department of Natural Resources reviewed and ranked the grant applications by using several factors including energy-saving potential and feasibility. The most popular category of equipment included the GPS systems, with more than 700 applications in this category. For the farmers with smaller operations, solar powered fencers and insulated or frost-free waterers were very popular.

The department anticipated receiving 600 applications; however, more than 1,900 applications were submitted.  Because of the great interest in the program, the department reallocated funds and doubled the amount of funding available from $3 million to more than $6 million to meet the increased demand of the farmers.

Funding for Energize Missouri Agriculture cost-share grants comes from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Department of Natural Resources is overseeing the grant program.

For more information on the federal Recovery Act, visit recovery.gov. For more information on Missouri's transform initiatives, visit transform.mo.gov. For more information, contact the department's Energy Center at P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176 or call 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443 or visit dnr.mo.gov. For more information visit Energize Missouri Agriculture’s website at: /transform/energizemissouriagriculture.htm.

A full list of counties and projects is available at: /transform/ag-grants.htm.

###