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Farm Bureau says USDA needs solar recommendations for farmland

A policy specialist with the American Farm Bureau Federation says the organization wants USDA to outline solar development best practices for ag lands.

Arica Hamilton tells Brownfield, “One part of a AFBF policy is to try and push solar developments to brownfield or conservation sites, trying to keep it off of our most productive land that we use for agriculture.”

Hamilton says Farm Bureau wants USDA to incorporate feedback from solar listening sessions held earlier this year. She lawmakers are also taking action.

“The House Ag Committee is getting a lot of pressure from the members of their committee to do something in this space, so I think Illinois, they’ve got two members that are working on some bills,” she says.

Illinois Congressman Eric Sorenson’s Securing and Understanding Our National Renewable Agriculture Yields for Energy, or SUNRAY, Act would require USDA to create solar best practices for farmland.

American Farmland Trust has announced a research initiative with Sol Systems to study soil health and the impact of solar site design on ag land. Sol Systems is building six large-scale projects in the Midwest over the next seven years that can incorporate dual-land use.

Brownfield interviewed Hamilton during the recent Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s County President’s Trip to D.C.

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