Friday, June 24, 2011

From the Desk Prosperity’s Summer Intern, Rachel Bayless:

Well, this week has been fun-filled. A new component was added to the REAP Grant application, a CCR registration. All of our clients who thought they were done received brand new phone calls asking for more information. The USDA is keeping us on our toes! While it isn’t a fun process, it is necessary. And it is giving me a lot of time on the phone. Once you’ve talked through the registration a few times it doesn’t seem so bad. Although I spend my weekdays on a computer all day long, and the applicants have other things on their plate, like a farm! But I’m happy that clients are finally calling with questions that I am able to answer! It makes me feel useful.

This week the application for certification to become a Women’s Business Enterprise was mailed. I have been working on that since I got here (over a month ago!). The application requires quite a bit of documentation, and it has been so busy in this office that the process was put on hold a little for us. But hopefully I didn’t forget any documents and Prosperity can officially become a “Women’s Business Enterprise”.  Sarah is also looking to become a member of the National Speakers Association. We must provide documentation for 20 speaking events in the past 12 months. Those will also take some time to get together. But becoming a member of NSA, Sarah will have the opportunity to do a lot of networking and broaden her speaking horizons.

I have also begun working on a marketing plan for Sarah Aubrey’s books. Even though marketing is part of my major at Purdue, this is my first time delving into a marketing experience. Since I have never made a marketing plan before, I’m going to be using Erin’s (our marketing and communications coordinator) expertise to clean it up. I will keep you updated on the progress of book sales. I will be working towards having the book sold at Indiana wineries, farm supply stores, local bookstores, and any other venues where people would express an interest in her books.

Next week, as an office, we will be attending Alternative Fuel and Related Technology “Day at the Track”. At this time I do not know too much about the event. But we may have the opportunity to drive an electric car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and meet lots of people. Next week be waiting to read more about our experience there, and I will include some pictures!

Photo by Jared Coppess

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


MONROVIA, Ind. – June 15, 2011 – USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) FY 2011 construction application submission period is now closed and Prosperity Ag and Energy Resources (Prosperity) has submitted all applications to USDA. This year Prosperity submitted 66 70 grants in ten states for 2011 funding consideration through this popular program. The energy savings across all projects will yield 41.6% in 2011. In less than four years, Prosperity has secured grants for clients in more than 30 states totaling $50 million; REAP grant applications this year request greater than $2,486,493.22 funding for clients.

Notifications of awards are expected to be announced by late September. Prosperity writes and submits grants annually for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects. The REAP Program funding is authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill). REAP funding can be used for renewable energy projects, energy efficient improvements, energy audits, feasibility studies and renewable energy development assistance. Information on the REAP program can be found at

Prosperity Ag and Energy Resources began in 2007 and is a full-service, funding-opportunities development firm. Prosperity focuses on grant writing, guaranteed loans and general grant administration, working closely with state and federal contacts to strengthen communities, empower entrepreneurs, and foster growth of farms and businesses. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 REAP Grant Applications Submitted!

The REAP grant deadline has finally come for us. We were working right up to the last minute! During the home stretch we lost Internet for the morning. A big storm flew over this morning and I imagine that may have had something to do with it. But we hurried to get back on track, and our numerous applications have each been submitted. Here are some stats about this year’s submissions from Prosperity Ag & Energy Resources:

66 70 grants
10 states
41.6% energy savings to come from proposed projects
$2,486,439.22 requested in grants

In the past three years Prosperity has secured 183 REAP grants in 13 states, 108 of which were for Indiana farms and small businesses. In 2010 grants totaling $2,917,444.40 were secured for Prosperity’s clients, and in 2009 an estimated more than $1.5 million in grants were secured as well. Each year over a million gallons of propane gas will be saved with the new grain dryers funded by the REAP grants written at Prosperity.

We are already getting started on REAP grant applications for 2012. Next year is the final year currently announced for the REAP Program. This program has been quite a success and we are hoping and encouraging the continuation of the program. But if you are interested, please do not delay your application! Feel free to contact us with any and all questions at 317-996-2777. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

From the Desk of Prosperity’s Summer Intern, Rachel Bayless:

I am certainly getting practice writing. This internship is giving me the opportunity to practice many different writing styles. Already today I have written a press release, drafted emails to go out to clients and to state offices, and here I am writing a blog. I’m getting practice writing letters to politicians. In addition I’m learning the power of research to go along with writing. Coming into this internship I didn’t know too much, and I still don’t know too much. So I’ve got to read a little bit so that I appear to know what I’m talking about!

As I’ve mentioned and you may already know, the deadline for the 2011 REAP grant application is June 15. That is very close. Last year there were 80 REAP grants written here at Prosperity, and although I’m not sure of the current count, I’m sure there are that many or more this year. Tuesday was when we required clients to have all of their information in for us to work on. And with the farmers all being so busy right now, there is definite a last minute rush. I enjoy it though. Being busy lets me know that I’m being productive. The last thing I want from an internship is to sit idly and learn nothing at the end of the summer.

Once this June 15 deadline has passed, Prosperity is taking a couple of days off. Then when we get back to the office on June 20, I get to jump into a sales/marketing project, which I am looking forward to. My major is sales and marketing. I have taken a really good sales class and worked a little with sales, but I haven’t gotten much of an opportunity yet to work on marketing. I’m eager to learn exactly how to begin such a project, as it will be a very career-preparing experience. The project will be based on Sarah’s books. She currently has two published: Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business and The Profitable Hobby Farm. I’ve put together some businesses that may be interested in selling her book, and I will be doing a little more preparation this week so that I will have a good starting point to start talking to prospects. The books certainly have an audience eager to read them. A woman my dad works with has already zipped through The Profitable Hobby Farm, her interest brought on by raising chickens at her home.

After four full weeks of interning at Prosperity Ag & Energy Resources I am learning a lot and preparing for a career (which is, scarily enough, just a couple years away!).

photo by Rachel Bayless

Friday, June 3, 2011

From the Desk of Prosperity’s Summer Intern, Rachel Bayless:

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant and loan applications are due in less than two weeks. Some of those applications are massive. Last week I looked through all of the 2010 applications Sarah wrote to gather up some data. Some of them are about 200 pages long! Most are about 100. I’m glad I’m the intern and not the grant writer. But I’ll tell you about the data I gathered. In 2010 alone Sarah wrote grants totaling $2,680,032.27. The projects those grants are helping to fund will have an average of 41% energy savings. That’s pretty significant. I’m not sure where we stand this year, but the deadline for REAP is June 15 and a lot of grant applications have been completed, and there are quite a few still coming in.

I must admit my favorite part of this internship is that it is in the country. We just don’t have all kinds of critters running around at home. My mom will insist that I mention that we do have a fox living in our neighborhood and that the neighbors have recently decided to raise chickens. But we live in a suburb. Despite what my friends at school think, I do not live on a farm, there isn’t a cornfield for miles, and any country accent I have is from listening to too much Brad Paisley. But I kind of wish I did live on a farm! I love the cows. The benefit to working on a farm and not living on a farm though is that I get to look at the cows, but I don’t have to take care of them. As far as I’m concerned, they eat grass, and that is taking care of cows. I’m sure anyone owning a cow would have a lot to say about that though!

I also don’t have to worry about the weather like farmers do. With all the rain lately, I’ve just been unhappy about driving in storms. But the farmers are worried because they can’t plant. Luckily, it has dried up. My phone calls this week have been to a lot of farmers who can’t quite hear me, because they are on a tractor. Again, as far as I’m concerned, corn grows in the produce section at Wal-Mart! I know that’s not true. And I’m happy to talk a little louder (or even yell) into the phone so that they can keep up the good work.

photos by Rachel Bayless