USDA Invests Nearly $79,000 in Madison, Copeland, Moundridge, Caldwell and Minneapolis, Kansas


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TOPEKA, Kan., Sept. 9, 2021 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Acting State Director for Kansas Dan Fischer today announced that the USDA is investing $78,757 to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower energy costs in five Kansas communities.

“When we invest in infrastructure, we’re investing in the people of rural America to help create thriving communities where they can grow and prosper” Fischer said. “We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities in rural towns and communities.

USDA is financing these investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program provides funding to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. These climate-smart investments will conserve and generate more than 280,048 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in rural Kansas, which equates to enough electricity to power 26 homes per year.

The department is announcing investments today in five Kansas communities and 47 other states and Puerto Rico.

The investments in Kansas communities are:

  • Kansas Maid, Inc. of Madison, will use a $20,000 grant to help purchase and install solar equipment. The project is estimated to replace 124,747 kilowatt hours per year. This equates to 74.41 percent of their energy usage and is enough energy to power 11 homes.
  • Merle Schmidt, of Copeland, will use an $11,497 grant to help purchase and install a 15 kilowatt Wind Turbine. This project will save $4,037 per year and replace 47,158 kilowatt hours per year, 100 percent of Schmidt consumption and enough electricity to power four homes.
  • R & E Goering Farms LLC will use an $18,944 grant to help complete irrigation pump upgrades in Moundridge. The project is estimated to save 42,851 kilowatt hours per year, reducing energy consumption by 40.53 percent, which is enough to power three homes.
  • Caldwell Pharmacy, Inc. of Caldwell, will use an $8,316 grant to help purchase and install solar equipment. The project is estimated to replace the 20,532kWh per year. This is enough energy to power one home for a year and equates to 80.62 percent of its energy usage. Caldwell Pharmacy currently has four employees.
  • Swisher Properties LC, of Minneapolis, will use a $20,000 grant to help purchase and install a 30.78 kilowatt rooftop solar array. The project is estimated to replace 44,760 kilowatt hours per year. This equates to 89.93 percent of its energy usage and is enough energy to power four homes.

To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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