Nebraska Winners Selected...
US Department of Agriculture Renewable Energy Grants

Nebraskans faired somewhat better this year in securing grants from the US Department of Agricultureís Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation grants program. According to USDA, 14 projects totaling $181,949 in Nebraska were selected. Last year, 7 projects totaling $177, 652 were funded. The renewable energy and energy conservation grants — also known as Section 9006 grants — provide funding to help farmers, ranchers and small rural businesses develop projects — such as wind, biomass and solar energy — and make energy efficiency improvements in their operations. The program provides a maximum of 25 percent funding for a single project.

Solid Fuel Burners for Alfalfa Drying
Nebraska Projects Selected for Funding


  • Cozad Alfalfa, Cozad $37,500
    This grant will help develop a solid fuel burner system to replace natural gas fired burner used to dehydrate alfalfa feed products. The new system will replace more than 90 percent of the energy use in the dehydration process. The project will pay for itself in a little more than five years.

Building Efficiency

  • Liefield Furniture, Albion $3,283
    This grant will assist with installation of thermal windows, doors and insulation in the furniture store. The average energy savings an estimated at 67.5 percent and the cost of the improvements will be paid for within nine years.
  • Braunís IGA and Locker, Atkinson $5,000
    This grant will assist in replacement of a heating and cooling system with new energy efficient one. A new heat reclamation system will also be installed. The project will save an estimated 68 percent of the energy used by the old system. The project will pay for itself in less than four years.
  • Foodmart II, Crete $11,750

    High Efficiency Display Case
    This project will add new lighting, energy efficient refrigerated display cases and doors, walk-in freezers and insulation for the grocery store. These energy saving modifications will produce annual savings of an estimated 48.5 percent and pay for the improvements in less than five years.
  • Shamrock Nursery, OíNeill $6,599
    This grant will assist the nursery with reglazing, adding insulation, installing side vents and replacing an old furnace with high efficiency model. The improvements will realize energy savings of 45 percent annually and will pay for the improvements in about eight years.
  • Orthman Manufacturing, Lexington $24,425
    This grant will add 633 energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs at Orthmanís production facility, replacing existing high-wattage ones. The project will reduce annual consumption by 418,981 kilowatthours.
  • Jurgensen Enterprises, Burwell $3,400
    This grant will assist in the replacement of freezer doors and compressors with new freezer doors and a high efficiency air-cooled compressor at Mr. Jís grocery store. The project will yield an estimated 62 percent in energy savings and pay for itself in about eight years.
  • Tiemersma Dairy, Jansen $2,800

    High Efficiency Furnaces
    This grant will help replace cooling and ventilation fans in a free-stall dairy facility with new energy efficient fans. The project will yield 27 percent energy savings annually and the cost of the project will be paid for in about 8 years.
  • Calís Boot & Shoe Service, Ogallala $2,500
    This grant will help in replacing a heating and cooling system with a new energy efficient system. The new system will pay for itself in a little more than eight years.

Industrial Efficiency

  • Klasek Farms, Western $9,150
    This grant will help replace an inefficient high pressure irrigation system and power unit with a new low pressure irrigation system and efficient power unit. The project will save more than 1,500 gallons of fuel annually.
  • Reiss Farms, Wilcox $51,900
    This grant will replace the existing flood irrigation system on 27 pivot corners of 10 acres each to a subsurface drip irrigation system. The system will yield a 64 percent energy savings annually, or

    Burried Drip Irrigation System
    about $29,439 a year.
  • Dennis Brown Farms, Waco $10,900
    This grant will help convert a gravity irrigation system using an inefficient natural gas powered unit to a low pressure pivot system using a high efficient diesel engine. The project will reduce energy use by 31 percent and pay for itself in a little more than eight years.
  • Marvin C. Weber Farms, York $9,500
    This grant will assist in replacing four propane powered irrigation well engines with new diesel engines. The project will generate an estimated 35 percent in energy savings annually.


  • The Kingís Fish, Gibbon $3,242
    This grant will assist in developing wind and solar powered aeration and fresh water pumping systems for the aquaculture business and will provide 75-90 percent of the energy needed.

TOTAL $181,949

No Nebraska projects were selected in the anaerobic digester, geothermal, solar, or small and large wind areas.

National Overview
Applications for U.S. Department of Agriculture's renewable energy and energy conservation grants program surged in its second year. USDA received about $36.6 million in grant applications for the $23 million available in 2004.

USDA officials said they received 237 applications by July 19th totaling $36.6 million in funding requests, a 30 percent from last year. In 2003, USDA received 148 applications, and selected 114 totaling $21.2 million in grants.

According to USDA, the grant applications for this year totaled:

  • 97 energy efficiency applications. Grants in this area can fund a variety of activities, especially for small rural businesses. Last year's energy efficiency grants ranged from a solar refrigeration system at a linen service to high-efficiency dry kilns at a lumber company.
  • 34 applications this year for large-scale wind projects and
  • 19 for small-scale wind projects.

The bulk of the grants awarded for 2003, $19.4 million, went toward the development of renewable energy systems. Wind power projects received $7.4 million; $7 million went toward anaerobic digesters; $1.1 million funded six solar projects; and $3.9 million went toward projects that used farm products to create ethanol or other fuels.

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