Below is a part I of a V part series. Industrial solar companies are claiming they are helping to pass the land onto their children. As we have said before, the solar company uses attractive words such as; homegrown, harvesting, creating jobs, saving the land, green, etc., but they fail to give the full picture. This is a very good article showing how much of what they say is not true.
By DAN WAY
Ron Heiniger isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He has spent years as a crop and soil scientist helping hard-pressed farmers to get maximum yield and quality from their crops. The N.C. State Cooperative Extension Service professor says it’s his calling in life.
These days Heiniger, who works at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth, worries that solar installations gobbling up prime farmland could do more to destabilize and diminish the agricultural economy of North Carolina than any naturally occurring threat that he deals with.
“We really don’t recognize how fragile our agriculture system is. Today it’s under stress,” mostly from low prices, and to some degree due to young people abandoning the farming life of their fathers, Heiniger said.
Utility-scale solar energy facilities are increasing the pressure on farming by taking land out of production needed to maintain a delicate economy of scale, viability, and profitability. At some stage the system will start to break down, but the question is when the decline reaches a point of no return, he said.
Some farmers struggling to make a living off the land yield to the temptation to enter a lucrative lease with solar companies, and take part or all of their fields out of production.
Tomorrow, part II of the V part series.
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