Why are Renewables Important to Farmers?
So why are renewables important to farmers? One word: Diversification. Corn prices are falling. Farmers are hunting for ways to stabilize their small business. Purdue University just won a million-dollar U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study organic hemp production!
In a very real way, siting a renewable energy project – whether that be a wind turbine or solar panels – on a family farm should be considered a wise diversification move.
As local farm families experience growth in their business, they reinvest in the communities through their children’s schools, their churches and other local businesses.
Compared to other crop decisions, the returns from renewables are guaranteed. The payments from renewable energy are exponentially more profitable, and that gives the landowner tremendous levels of confidence when making long-term decisions about how to upgrade their land. Expensive drainage tile installation and maintenance, farm machinery purchases, keeping children and grandchildren a part of the farm operation – all of these are just a few examples of why the phone call announcing a renewables project is so energizing.
I am at a loss to understand how the discussion about farm diversification is so tightly focused when it comes to wind and solar. Prosperity on the farm is JOB ONE when it comes to maintaining prosperity in rural communities. As local farm families experience growth in their business, they reinvest in the communities through their children’s schools, their churches and other local businesses.
I have lived long enough see the ownership of family’s land in jeopardy. As I entered Purdue, I just knew that so long as I got a great job in town for a few years I could come back home and really make it. It didn’t take long to see that even then, farm consolidations, access to capital, and most significantly, financial security for my family dictated otherwise. I am a pragmatic person, I look to the future, and all around us, renewables are here, now and are in high demand. They are increasingly becoming part of America’s energy portfolio, so why shouldn’t this homegrown resource be part of Hoosier crop mix?
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