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Farm Bill 2004 Grants Info

Energy/Energy Efficiency Grants

On Wednesday, May 5th, the availability of approximately $23 million in competitive Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency grant funds for FY2004 was announced. This program will assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses create their own energy or improve the energy efficiency of existing facilities.

Grants in the amount of $2,500 - $500,000 can be made for Renewable energy projects and grants in the amount of $2,500 - $250,000 can be made for Energy Efficiency projects. The maximum grant of 25% of the eligible project costs will be reimbursed to the grantees project.

All Montana applications should be submitted to the USDA-Rural Development State Office in Bozeman, MT to determine applicant eligibility, product eligibility, activity eligibility and other eligibility requirements.

All applications must be postmarked no later than July 19, 2004. Potential applicants should contact the State Office so that they may be provided with National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements, forms, resources and guidance.

All projects will have a technical review completed by the National Energy Resource Laboratory (NREL). Once they applications pass the eligibility review and technical review they will be sent to the National Office by August 16, 2004 with anticipated funding date set for September 3, 2004.

The Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) inviting applications is available on line. The application deadline is July 19, 2004. Click here for the guidelines.

Some of the changes from last year include:

  • Lower minimum grant levels. The $2,500 minimum grant level means that projects that cost only $10,000 are eligible for grants (based on a 25% maximum grant level). This improvement will open the door to many more energy efficiency projects.
  • 3rd party in-kind contributions can be counted toward the 75% match requirement.
  • New technical requirements based on specific renewable energy technologies.
  • Feasibility studies are only required for renewable energy grant requests exceeding $50,000.
  • Professional energy audits are only required for energy efficiency projects larger than $50,000
  • Special consideration will be given for smaller agricultural producers.(under $1 million in gross receipts)
  • .

All interested applicants should read the NOFA carefully. Then, please direct your questions to your state Program Director

For Montana contact John D. Guthmiller, Program Director, Business Cooperative Programs, USDA-Rural Development, 900 Technology Blvd, Suite B, P.O. Box 850, Bozeman, MT 59771, (406) 585-2540.

Please visit the USDA-Rural Development web site -- click here -- for further program information.