REAP saved from reaper in 2018 Farm Bill
After months of debates, revisions and holdouts, Congress finally passed the 2018 Farm Bill, leaving only President Trump between the political limbo it has made its home and its life as law.
The final version of the bill maintains the $50 million annual funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), the popular subsidy program that provides farmers and agricultural workers grants and other financial assistance in order to “purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies.” The program has been so popular in the past, in fact, that requests for funds regularly exceeded available grants.
The new Farm Bill also establishes a provision broadening the types of support available for the installation of renewable energy systems, stating: “The Senate amendment allows for the purchase and installation of efficient energy equipment or systems to qualify for loan guarantees and grants provided under this section.”
Importantly, REAP’s $50 million dollar annual funding can not be lowered at any point in its lifetime, from fiscal year 2019 through fiscal year 2023.
A number of renewable energy advocates have commended Congress’ passing of the Farm Bill, including the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC).
“The Conference Committee produced Farm Bill wisely preserved the REAP program,” Ann Mesnikoff, ELPC’s Federal Legislative Director told pv magazine.“We thank the Members of Congress who supported the program that delivers benefits to all agricultural sectors and every state.”