Farmers offered $1,000 or more per acre for solar farm installations

More farmers are in talks with companies to have solar panels installed on their farms, according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. 

Ag economist Jim Mintert with Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture says in the last six months 19% of farmers have had a discussion about leasing their farmland for solar energy.

“Are more farmers interested in trying to lease their farmland out for solar energy production? Or is it more demand-driven in the sense that there are more companies out there expressing interest? It’s pretty clear this is a demand-driven market,” he said.

Mintert says the survey rephrased the question earlier this year to only inquire about recent discussions. 

He says they asked farmers about the annual payment rate per acre; 58% of respondents were offered $1,000 or more per acre to have solar panels installed.

“From a landowner perspective, the poll says these rates are significantly higher than rental rates for farmland that’s being used for crop production,” he said.

Mintert tells Brownfield farmers have concerns. 

“There’s a variety of reasons why people feel that way, but one of them is some people expressing concern about long-term conversion of quality farmland to non-agricultural use,” he said.

The Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture surveys 400 U.S. agricultural producers each month regarding the status of the U.S. farm economy.

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