USDA hiring 40 Climate Change Fellows to improve local access to clean energy funding

by Staff report
| February 3, 2024 1:00 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Dec. 22 it is hiring 40 Climate Change Fellows to help with the record numbers of applications from farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses seeking funding for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program. 

The new positions are funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combatting the climate crisis, according to the announcement. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is hard at work making sure as many people as possible can access historic funding to make clean energy improvements at their farms, ranches and businesses,” Agriculture Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “These innovations will help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families.”

The Inflation Reduction Act provided REAP with $2 billion in funding to meet growing demand from farmers and small business owners looking to expand their use of wind, solar and other forms of clean energy. So far, USDA has made $1.25 billion of that funding available and has seen a dramatic increase in grant applications under the program, the announcement said.

Three of the new positions will report to USDA Rural Development’s national office. Two fellows each will be based in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota. One fellow each will be based in about thirty other states, including Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

To apply for a position visit Initial appointments may be for up to two years. Additional one-year extensions may be made up to four years. Most states will receive additional funds, announced at a later date, to provide REAP technical assistance in addition to these staffing positions, the announcement said.