Gov. Nixon speaks as State Ag Director Jon Hagler looks on

Up to as many as 300 farming operations and 100 rural homes could see improvements in their energy use as the state puts into place a $5 million federal grant.

Governor Nixon announced this morning in Jefferson City that the State Department of Agriculture won a competitive grant from the federal Department of Energy. The agriculture department’s proposal is called MAESTRO, which stands for Missouri Agricultural Energy Saving Team – a Revolutionary Opportunity. The University of Missouri Extension Service is a partner in the program as well.

The money is to be used to help farm operations and farm homes use less electricity, gas and propane. The program targets livestock producers, in particular. Money will be made available for energy audits as well as to finance rebates to put recommendations into place. Low interest loans will be made available to finance energy improvements and guarantees given to lenders who help finance them.

The money is part of the federal economic stimulus package approved by Congress in 2009.

AUDIO: State Agriculture Director Jon Hagler and Gov. Nixon on energy grant [8:30 MP3]