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Montana Ag Network: Montana businesses receive federal funds for clean energy

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Posted at 11:28 AM, Aug 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-31 13:28:41-04

BOZEMAN - The Biden administration announced on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, that $266 million in funding for rural businesses, farmers, and ranchers with the goal of investing in clean energy.

Of that total. $1.3 million is being sent to 35 Montana businesses.

LaVonne Stucky, owner of The Wool Mill outside of Belgrade, has used federal grants and the power of the sun and nature to keep her business running.

“This is actually some Montana bison and we'll be making a yarn out of that,” says Stucky.

Stucky has been making wool products from her mill. With the help of federal grants, Stucky installed solar panels and pipes on her mill that now keep it running.

“Solar PV runs all of the electricity for the mill and the greenhouse that has the picker,” she says.

Stucky says powering her mill with solar means her process is clean from start to finish.

“We’re powered by the sun, recycled, reused or composted. So we're we're pretty self-sustaining,” says Stucky.

Montana State Rural Development Director Kathleen Williams says the money comes from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“[It helps] them go into business, helps them stay on the land. This is a family, a family property here. And it allowed her and her family to stay on the land,” says Williams.

Stucky says the installation has also reduced the costs to her business.

“So this will go into the washing machine and get spun out and then go to the greenhouse to dry. So the sun is also drying the wool,” says Stucky. “I just didn’t want to be tied to a monthly power bill every month.”

To learn more, visit the USDA Rural Development website.