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North Jersey RC&D Celebrated Earth Week, $100K USDA Grant Investment into Renewable Energy

USDA grant funding to North Jersey RC&D will help agricultural producers and rural businesses implement on-farm and on-site renewable energy systems.

From left to right: North Jersey Executive Director Laura Tessieri, Jonathan Blew, NJ Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher, NJ State Director Jane Asselta, Congressman Tom Malinowski, Blew Family.

North Jersey RC&D, along with USDA Rural Development NJ State Director Jane Asselta, Congressman Tom Malinowski, and NJ Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher visited Oak Grove Plantation to celebrate Earth Week. Partners highlighted the ongoing need and success of the North Jersey Renewable Energy Development Assistance Program. The program is made possible through Rural Development’s Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) grant.

The REDA grant provides farms and rural businesses in northern New Jersey a no-cost renewable energy assessment for customized on-site renewable energy systems. “This program is designed to give farmers and business owners the information they need to make informed decisions regarding renewable energy options”, stated Laura Tessieri, Executive Director of North Jersey RC&D. The North Jersey Renewable Energy Development Assistance Program, to date, has served 25 farms and businesses.

From left to right: Congressman Tom Malinowski, NJ State Director Jane Asselta, Oak Grove Plantation Owner Susan Blew, NJ Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher.

Oak Grove Plantation, a preserved farm in Pittstown, Hunterdon County, is one such farm that utilized the REDA grant. Owner Susan Blew shared, “Energy independence is of utmost importance to our family farm, especially given the recent, dramatic rise in costs of all types of materials. When I heard that the renewable energy assessment didn’t cost anything, that was great. Now is the time to plan.” She continued, “It is our hope to use this assessment to apply for implementation grants to assist with implementation”.

The recently awarded $100,000 REDA grant will allow more farmers and rural business owners to access these third-party assessments. If you’re contemplating a solar installation, wind microturbine, or dual-use agrivoltaics to serve your farm, the assessment helps provide options and is a first step toward applying to USDA for a grant to help offset installation costs.

Working with technical service provider EnSave, the program uses only your utility bills, satellite imagery, and weather data. No site visit is required. The number of assessments available is limited. If you are interested, please sign up at

Susan Blew (right) explains her greenhouse setup during a tour of the farm.

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