USDA Invests More Than $3.3 Million in Critical Infrastructure in Kansas


Eight Projects Will Help Emergency Protection, Renewable Energy and More

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TOPEKA, April 22, 2022 – Today, in honor of Earth Day, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting State Director for Rural Development Kansas Dan Fischer announced investments of $3.34 million in eight Kansas communities. These investments will strengthen fire and flood protection, expand renewable energy resources and more.

“These investments will improve emergency protection and renewable energy production in rural Kansas,” Fischer said. “USDA is proud to celebrate Earth Day through locally-driven solutions to improve rural resiliency.”

These Kansas projects are part of a larger national announcement of 165 projects across 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The details of the eight Kansas projects are:

  • A $113,700 grant will be used toward the purchase of a fire engine for the Anderson County Fire Department. Once this engine is in service the county will be one step closer to having all its stations equipped with Class A fire engines. This will provide the county with new and improved firefighting equipment.


  • A $2,917,200 grant will be used toward the construction of levee improvements for flood protection for the communities of Elwood, Wathena and rural areas of Doniphan County. Planning and construction will address the following issues: raising the levee, installing relief wells, making drainage structure improvements and replacing conduits. Once the project is completed, it will provide improved flood protection and increased safety.


  • A $88,600 grant will be used toward the purchase and renovation of a building into a multi-purpose facility for the community of Bushton. The project will include the purchase of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, ceiling fans, a boiler and associated equipment. The project will provide this rural community access to new and improved public services.


  • A $100,000 grant will be used by the Wichita State University Rural Energy Assessment Centertoward providing energy audits and renewable energy development assistance to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses. Dr. Bayram Yildirim and Dr. Deepak Gupta, professors at the Department of Industrial Systems and Manufacturing Engineering, will deliver energy efficiency audits for approximately 12 agricultural producers and rural small businesses throughout the state.


  • A $20,000 grant will be used toward purchasing and installing a 60 kW rooftop mounted solar array at Clock Real Estate LLC, a Winfield based company with one employee. The project is estimated to generate 81,668 kWh per year, enough energy to power seven homes.


  • A $20,000 grant will be used toward purchasing and installing a 15 kW wind turbine for BS Trailer Sales, Inc., a business in Dodge City. This project will realize $4,583 savings per year and will produce 58,764 kWh per year, enough electricity to power five homes.


  • A $20,000 grant will be used toward purchasing and installing LED lighting for Gerken Rent-All Inc. at locations in Emporia. The project is estimated to save 339,417 kWh per year. This equates to 60.56 percent of their energy usage and is enough energy to power 31 homes.


  • A $10,360 grant will be used toward purchasing and installing irrigation equipment for Boyd B. and Dedra K. Brant in Pratt County. The project is estimated to save 42,887 kWh per year. This equates to 60.56 percent of their energy usage and is enough energy to power four homes.


The Department is making the investments under various programs like the Electric Loan Program and the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). These programs assist agricultural producers, rural small business owners and residents with lowering energy costs and making energy-efficiency improvements.

The Community Facilities Disaster Grants program is assisting in the emergency infrastructure improvements and community facility renovation.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, 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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