20 Tennessee small businesses, rural companies receive USDA grants



(The Center Square) – Twenty Tennessee companies will be receiving loans or grants worth anywhere from $4,000 to $240,000 as part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s support of agriculture producers and rural small businesses.

The grants and loans are for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower their energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of the company’s operation.

The funding is part of the Inflation Reduction Act and will give $266 million to 1,334 different projects across the country.

“Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “… These once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America.”

The largest Tennessee grant will be $240,850 to Greenville’s MECO Corp. to make energy efficient hydraulic press equipment upgrades to the company’s existing manufacturing facility.

Sixth-generation daily farm Hatcher Family Dairy in College Grove will receive $172,300 to install an energy efficient robotic milking system expected to save 12,476 kilowatt hours per year ($1,462 in electric bills).

The University of Memphis will receive $99,943 to conduct energy audits for rural small businesses and agricultural producers throughout five states within a 200-mile radius of the Mid South Region to help audit recipients receive useful energy information to use to create better energy practices.

Eco-Panels of Tennessee in Red Boiling Springs will receive $90,576 to install a 113.4 kilowatt roof mounted solar system that is expected to save the company $17,880 per year. The company makes structural insulated wall panels.

Greene County real-estate holding company Chasan LLC will receive $79,999 to install a 91.8 kW solar photovoltaic system expected to save $28,083 and power the equivalent of 29 homes each year.

Other companies receiving the loans and grants included: Manchester’s Common John Brewing ($56,200) for a new solar system, New Market’s Local Meats LLC ($45,562), Cookeville’s Custom Fireplaces and More ($28,544), Gallatin’s Yapp USA Automotive ($61,459), Oak Ridge’s Advanced Label Worx ($20,000), Shelbyville’s Clements Dental ($12,201), Lexington’s Falcon Plastics ($9,422) and Morristown’s KBD LLC ($20,000).

Loans and grants also went to Morristown’s Neotiss ($52,792), Bean Station’s Make It Happen Enterprises ($10,622), Nashville’s MLG Properties ($18,696), Fairview’s Murphy and Sons Food Stores ($4,122), Wartrace’s TMC Land and Cattle Company ($16,086), Loudon County’s Wampler’s Farm Sausage Co. ($20,000) and Lebanon Distribution Company ($28,000).

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