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USDA Is Investing In Climate-Friendly Infrastructure In Utah

Investments two Utah businesses is receiving will go towards building solar arrays

This week, United Stated Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the USDA is investing $464 million in renewable energy infrastructure projects across the country. Some of these investments is going towards three Utah businesses. 

The investments are made through two programs - Renewable Energy for America and the Electric Loan program. US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said these projects will help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower their energy costs. 

“The scope and the intent and the expansion and the opportunity to continue to do more of this is very much linked to the ability of Congress to continue its work on both the bipartisan infrastructure and jobs bill and also the reconciliation bill which will continue to provide resources for investments in climate smart technologies,” Vilsack said.

The USDA will be investing in three projects here in Utah. Cars for Less dba Express Auto and Escalante Outfitters Incorporated received funds to install solar arrays. Dalton Hay Company LLC will use funds to replace eight pumps with new VFD’s which will help control the amount of electrical power supplied to the pumps. 

“There's a recognition and appreciation that climate smart infrastructure can lower energy costs for rural small businesses and farming operations," Vilsack said. "It can also spur economic development, which can support jobs and provides the opportunity for lower electric rates, which obviously makes it easier to attract new businesses.”

Funding projects like this, Vilsack said, can help make large projects more affordable. 

“This essentially creates an opportunity for us to get that kind of renewable energy going more quickly, with a little bit less cost, which obviously keeps the cost down to the consumers of that of that power,” Vilsack said.

Kailey Foster is a senior at Utah State University studying Agricultural Communications, Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science while also getting a minor in Agribusiness. She was raised in the dairy industry in Rhode Island where she found her passion for the agriculture industry as a whole. Here at USU, she has held various leadership positions in the Dairy Science Club and the local Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. She also also served as the 2020 Utah Miss Agriculture and is currently the 2021 Utah Ms. Agriculture. Here at UPR, she works on agriculture news stories and she produces agriculture segments such as USU Extension Highlights, the Green Thumb, and Ag Matters.