By Kris Bevill | September 16, 2011

Thirty-three projects in 22 states have been approved for blender pump grants in the latest round of funding to be dispersed through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. A total of $27 million in grants and loan guarantees for various energy-related projects were announced by the USDA on Sept. 16. Blender pump projects comprise about $2 million of that amount. The latest announcement brings the total number of blender pump projects to receive REAP support to 54. In August, the USDA announced 900 smaller REAP awards, of which 21 were granted to blender pump projects.

This was the first year that blender pump projects were eligible to apply for REAP funding. The USDA set a goal in 2010 of establishing 10,000 blender pumps throughout the U.S. in the next five years. Allowing blender pumps to qualify for REAP funding is one of several strategies the agency has deployed in order to make the 10,000-pump goal more attainable.

The agency said that by building the infrastructure for biofuels it is assisting in supporting the nation’s clean energy economy and helping to create jobs. “This funding is an important part of the Obama administration’s plan to help the nation’s farmers, agricultural producers and rural small businesses conserve natural resources, create more green jobs and lead us on the path to becoming an energy independent nation,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated.

Missouri received the most awards for blender pumps in the Sept. 16 round of funding. Four projects in that state were approved for a total of $254,212. Iowa and Kansas were the runners-up with each state receiving approval for three blender pump projects at a total of approximately $100,000 for each state. In North Dakota, where there are already more blender pumps than in any other state, two projects will receive a combined $58,000 in grants.

A Wisconsin project will receive the single largest blender pump REAP award. United Cooperative, a full-service co-op that services south-central Wisconsin farmers and consumers, was awarded $448,500 to assist in the installation of 33 ethanol blender pumps and 17 biodiesel dispensers.

Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant. Grants can be used to finance up to 25 percent of a project’s cost, or no more than $500,000 for renewables projects. A complete list of the awards announced Sept. 16 can be viewed here.