United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development division recently made grant money available to agricultural producers and small businesses in Erath County and beyond.

"This is something our members could definitely benefit from," said Rachel Clark, executive assistant for Stephenville Economic Development Corporation.

Producers are eligible to receive 25 percent for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems added to their operations.

Improvements can be made in many areas including wind and solar energy, electricity conservation, anaerobic digesters and more.

Many dairies use anaerobic digesters to help address issues they face with dairy waste.

Clark is encouraging area businesses to research the grant and learn their eligibilities. Whether a business is already planning their improvements or are considering the possibility, their operation may apply for the discount.

"This is a great time to make energy upgrades," Clark said.

Any rural producer or small business is eligible to receive the USDA grant, however, if total project expenses are less than $200,000, a financial need must be demonstated.

Grant applications and requirements can be found at rurdev.usda.gov/tx/section_9007.htm.