The US Department of Agriculture is providing $23 million to develop renewable energy systems in rural areas under the Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvements program, created to help farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses develop renewables and to make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Last year, the government invested $21.7 million to assist 114 applicants from 24 states develop wind, anaerobic digester, solar, ethanol and other bioenergy related systems, providing grants for up to 25% of the eligible project costs. The role of farmers in developing renewables was also recognised by the state of New York Senate. Both the state Senate and the Assembly passed legislation to allow farmers and homeowners to generate wind power for their own use and sell the excess to utility companies. "This new proposal will be of particular assistance to small farms allowing them to use the natural resource of wind to supply electricity and create economic and environmental benefits for their business and family," says Senator James Wright, the bill's sponsor. The legislation is supported by farmers, the wind industry and environmental advocates.