Application deadline for REAP program is near

IARN — The application deadline for the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, is quickly approaching on March 31, 2021. The REAP program is designed to help rural businesses and farmers to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. Funds may be used for the purchase, installation, and construction of renewable energy systems, such as a $2,500 minimum and $500,000 maximum grant. The loan guarantee percentage is published annually in a Federal Register notice. Read more

U.S. suspends some tariffs on U.K. goods

IARN — While it won’t have a large effect on farmers immediately, the Biden Administration is suspending some tariffs on goods from the United Kingdom. No longer a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom said in December that it will suspend tariffs on the U.S. tied to the World Trade Organization ruling against Boeing Airline subsidies. It was a move that trade experts say was a goodwill gesture and a sign that the British government is hoping to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement now that the Biden Administration has taken power. “The United States will now suspend retaliatory tariffs in the Airbus dispute for the next four months,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says in a statement. “This will allow time to focus on negotiating a balanced settlement to the disputes and begin seriously addressing the challenges posed by new entrants to the civil aviation market from non-market economies like China.” Read more

Vilsack: Farmers are having to rely too much on off-farm income

IARN — It is nothing unusual for us to hear about farm families needing off-farm income. Many of these families do this just to get affordable health insurance benefits. Many times, it is because the farm just does not generate enough revenue for the family to stay solvent. Newly appointed United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talked about some of the data at Commodity Classic last week and said these are figures that an Ag Secretary just does not want to see. Read more