Energy Efficiency Opportunities at USDA

White Paper


Kate Farley


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for much more than simply agricultural regulation. In many ways, it would be more accurately reflected by a title like the “U.S. Department of Rural Communities.” Energy efficiency is a component of many USDA assistance programs. Unfortunately, energy efficiency program managers without specific expertise in agriculture tend to overlook USDA as a potential source of funding and a valuable partner for outreach to rural communities across the country. Despite attempts by USDA to make information about its energy programs more readily accessible, it remains difficult to get a comprehensive overview of the energy efficiency programs that are available. This paper is intended to provide an overview of the various programs at USDA that address energy use in rural America. This paper will also examine changes to existing energy efficiency programs proposed in both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. It will conclude by offering a set of recommendations to make energy efficiency resources at USDA more accessible.