The Department of Agriculture announced on Nov. 1 that several farms, small businesses, and local governments in Wisconsin would receive federal investments as part of a Biden administration initiative to invest in rural America.
President Joe Biden traveled to Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minnesota, on Nov. 1 to announce more than $5 billion in grants and awards to rural communities.
“My plan is about investing in rural America. It’s about something else as well: It’s about restoring pride to rural communities that have been left behind for far too long,” Biden said. [[21:35]]
In a release, the White House said the investments received funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed into law in his first two years in office.
Funds are being sent to Wisconsin via the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, which provides grants and loans for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems for farms and rural small businesses.
Plans for the investments were detailed in a data sheet released by the department. Some highlights include:
– Greshik Farms in Cochrane will install a solar array with its funds. According to the department, once the array is operational, it will replace 119% of the farm’s energy use.
– Calla Ville Dairy in Augusta also plans to install a solar array, replacing 42% of the farm’s energy use.
– A farm in Granton plans to use the money to install a more energy-efficient grain dryer, expected to save the business over 673,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which the department said was enough energy to power 60 homes.
– Abby Ford, a car dealership in Abbotsford, said a new, more energy-efficient heating system would be installed at its location.
– Grants are also being sent to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to provide technical assistance to cooperatives in the areas of food systems, forestry, manufacturing, child care, and veterinary services, and to the College of Menominee Nation for building improvements.
– The village of Eleva will receive loans and grants to upgrade its water treatment plant, which is over 70 years old.
The Department of Agriculture also announced awards that will be spent around in rural areas of the United States to expand high-speed internet access and upgrade infrastructure. The department said it would invest in economic development projects meant to spur job creation.
The two bills cited by the White House as instrumental to new rural funding were supported by Wisconsin’s Democratic representatives in Congress when they were under consideration, but unanimously opposed by the state’s Republicans.Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) states on his official website that he believes agriculture has been one of the driving forces behind the state’s economy. Johnson opposed both laws. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, voted for both pieces of legislation.