GROWERS INTERESTED in improving energy efficiency on their farm with projects ranging from a new energy-efficient grain dryer to a solar water heater or manure digester may apply for grants and loans from USDA. But they must apply for the money by May 12.

The USDA Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements grants and loan guarantees come under Section 9006 of the Farm Bill. The renewable energy grants range from $2,500 to $500,000, and energy-efficiency upgrade grants range from $1,500 to $250,000. Loan guarantees cover 50% of the loan, up to $10 million. USDA has $23 million available to spend in this program. The program is designed to help farmers and small rural businesses build renewable energy systems.

For more information, visit www.farmenergy.org or contact the energy coordinator at a local USDA office.