Minnesota Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced Tuesday, Aug. 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing nearly $830,000 in grants to Minnesota to help reduce energy costs for farmers and ag producers through the Rural Energy for America Program.

Grants have been awarded to 54 Minnesota projects, mostly on family farms.

Minnesota recipients can use the grants to install renewable energy systems -- like biofuels or power generation from wind, solar or biomass, for example -- and make energy efficiency improvements. Funds can also be used on energy storage projects and energy audits.

“These Rural Energy for America Program grants will help Minnesotans develop renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to increase the productivity and efficiency of their farms and operations,” Klobuchar stated in a news release. “I fought to protect REAP funding in both the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills because these programs are a win for both farmers and for the environment.”

“We need to help Minnesota ag during these tough times, and helping it cut energy costs is one of the steps we should take,” Smith stated in the release. “I fought to significantly strengthen REAP in the 2018 Farm Bill so that Minnesota farms, as well as agribusinesses and rural communities, can build or expand their own cost-saving energy projects. REAP works for our farm families and I look forward to seeing how this helps lift up Minnesota Ag.”