Tag Archives: Michigan State University Extension

American farmers can’t afford this administration’s climate apathy

By Roger Johnson, Opinion Contributor, The Hill

Though the obstacles are many, farmers are actively looking for solutions. We are gathering with neighbors and friends, in church halls and community spaces across the countryside to share ideas for how to adapt to changing weather and reduce emissions. We are implementing conservation practices that sequester carbon in the soil. We are installing on-farm renewable energy producing systems. We are growing corn and other crops for ethanol and other biofuels, renewable energy sources that will power America’s future. And we are working with food companies to reduce the environmental footprint of some of America’s favorite foods.

All of these efforts depend on a strong foundation of objective, publicly funded, and widely-disseminated research. As climate change presents bigger and more complex problems, we will need more of this kind of research — not less. Without continued innovation or access to findings, farmers may not have the tools to face these challenges going forward. But by supporting climate science, this administration can help ensure that farmers are using the best practices on our land to mitigate and adapt to climate change and that policy makers are developing programs and incentives to support those practices. Read more here.

Roger Johnson is a farmer and the president of National Farmers Union, the oldest general farm organization in the United States. NFU represents 200,000 family farmers and ranchers.

According to the USDA’s latest census released April 2019, a total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012.

Photo: A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star
News Story: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star
Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Farm, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 

Farm Energy Resources

Rural America is ready for some sort of a New Deal, preferably green

By Art Cullen, Published by The Guardian and Republished by Yahoo! News

The Midwest would welcome a New Deal, and this is where it must start. The Great Plains from Iowa down through Kansas and Texas lead the world in wind energy production. Yet the wind energy production tax credit is set to wane and expire over the next five years. Those wind turbine royalties are increasingly important in western Kansas where you can barely raise a corn crop even with irrigation because of soil degradation and warmer nights wrought by climate change. Wind energy technicians who keep the blades whirring are paid good union wages and are welcome residents in tiny Iowa villages. They could ply their trade in West Virginia as well. Read the entire article here.

Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. Cullen is the author of the book, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper (Viking 2018).

Spring Deadline for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Applications: Includes information on incentives for solar and small wind.

The spring deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year round. REAP assists agricultural producers and rural small businesses in reducing energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

A 25-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed in 2015 powers the Hammond family farm operations west of Benedict, Nebraska. Photo Credit: Matt Ryerson / Lincoln Journal Star

Rick Hammond’s array cost $84,864 in 2015, but a combination of a USDA grant and federal tax credits brought the cost to him down to $19,100. Source: Farms flexing solar power, Lincoln Journal Star. Installers: MarLin Wind & Solar and North Star Solar Bears

Additional Recommended Reading

 

Rick Hammond and his family are the subjects of This Blessed Earth, the One Book, One Nebraska pick for 2019. Ted Genoways’ award-winning book is
also this year’s All Iowa Reads Selection.

 

More Farm Energy Resources