KEARNEY, MO -- USDA Rural Development Administrator Judith Canales visited Missouri on Aug. 17 to promote how USDA is helping to fund the installation of flex-fuel pumps through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Canales visited two sites that now have pumps funded, in part, by the program.

"The installation of these pumps will help Missouri businesses, residents and motorists in many ways," said Canales, administrator of USDA's rural business-cooperative service. "It will help businesses that install them create jobs, and it will spur economic activity in the renewable energy industry.”

Flexible-fuel pumps are specifically designed to dispense ethanol-gasoline blends that contain up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. In addition, they may also dispense mid-level blends, such as E15 and E30. USDA Rural Development provided funding to assist in the installation of the pumps at Platte-Clay Fuels LLC, an affiliate of Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, through REAP.

Canales' trip was a follow-up to her May 2011 visit to the "Show Me State" when she kicked off a series of workshops USDA Rural Development held around the country to highlight financing available for flexible-fuel pumps at gas stations. The workshops focused on changes to the Rural Energy for America Program that make agriculture producers in non-rural areas also eligible for REAP assistance. REAP grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, energy audits and studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.

REAP provides grants and loan guarantees for the installation of retail flexible-fuel pumps and related equipment and the retrofitting of existing pumps to dispense E85. Grant awards are limited to no more than 25 percent of total eligible project costs, with a minimum grant of $2,500 and a maximum grant of $500,000. Loan guarantees are available for up to 75 percent of total eligible project costs.