Below is an OpEd by Kenneth Corn, USDA Rural Development Oklahoma State Director
When it comes to the seemingly constant wild weather changes, there is a right to be a concerned small business owner or agriculture producer here in rural Oklahoma. Thankfully the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to not only working on the effects of climate change, but also blunting the rising costs of inflation.
You might be asking yourself if you’re a small business owner or rancher, “well how does that help me?” Through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the president is investing millions of dollars right now here in Oklahoma for those eligible businesses and ag producers to upgrade in energy efficiency programs or install renewable energy systems. Both of which not only put more money in the pockets of our mom-and-pop establishments in rural Oklahoma, but also have a positive net impact on the effects of climate change in our state as well.
In fact, I would argue there is no better time in Oklahoma for our businesses, farmers, and ranchers to look at the programs Rural Development can offer. This is because our Administration is investing more money than ever before into rural Oklahoma, and it truly is a historic moment for my neighbors across Oklahoma to join in the potential to prosper from Rural Development programs.
Eligible stakeholders can utilize a REAP grant for up to 40 percent of the cost of an eligible project. Items such as improved HVAC systems, lighting, refrigeration units, and improved insulation can be used with this program to help lower energy costs. Additionally, if the business or producer is interested in alternative power sources like geothermal, solar or wind a REAP grant may be the perfect choice as well.
However, the time to act on these programs and invest in your rural community is now! Our State Office in Stillwater is accepting applications for REAP until March 31. Don’t let that date or process scare you though. I want to make it as simple as possible for eligible business and ag stakeholders to participate in this process. Email our REAP coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 405-742-1070 and ask to speak to our REAP coordinator.
Don’t let this historic moment pass you by, because Rural Development here in Oklahoma has never been this committed to a more prosperous and united rural Oklahoma.