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USDA Office of Rural Development (RD) is an agency with the United States Department of Agriculture which runs programs intended to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has a loan portfolio over $224.5 billion, and administers nearly $16 billion in program loans, loan guarantees, and grants through their programs. Rural Development promotes economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks, credit unions and community-managed lending pools.

It offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. Rural Development also provides technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs and helps rural residents buy or rent safe, affordable housing and make health and safety repairs to their homes.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

Renewable energy projects for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project’s cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less.

The USDA Rural Development operates over fifty financial assistance programs for a variety of rural applications. Select a category that best describes your situation, and see what RD can do to assist you. We also offer a list of all programs.

Electric Programs

Powering Sustainable Rural Communities

Providing reliable, affordable electricity is essential to sustaining the economic well-being and quality of life for all of the nation’s rural residents.  The Electric Program provides leadership and capital to maintain, expand, upgrade, and modernize America’s vast rural electric infrastructure.  Under the authority of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, the Electric Program makes direct loans and loan guarantees (FFB), as well as grants and other energy project financing to electric utilities (wholesale and retail providers of electricity) that serve customers in rural areas. Learn more here.

Energy Programs

Our programs, authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014, offer funding to complete energy audits, provide renewable energy development assistance, make energy efficiency improvements and install renewable energy systems. We have programs that help convert older heating sources to cleaner technologies, produce advanced biofuels, install solar panels, build biorefineries, and much more. USDA Rural Development is at the forefront of renewable energy financing, with options including grants, guaranteed loans and payments.

Water & Environmental Programs

Through Rural Utilities Service Water and Environmental Programs (WEP), rural communities obtain the technical assistance and financing necessary to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems.  Safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America.  Rural Development is a leader in helping rural America improve the quality of life and increase the economic opportunities for rural people.

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