By Eric Galatas, Public News Service
As the nation moves to ramp up clean-energy production, Jack’s Solar Garden, a locally owned farm just south of Longmont, could provide a model for family-scale operations across the U.S. The farm has boosted revenues after planting 3,200 solar panels, enough to power more than 300 homes, and uses the soil underneath to grow produce. Continue reading here.
Photo by the National Renewable Energy Lab: Jack’s Solar Garden in Boulder County offers tours to visiting farmers and local schools to help cultivate the next generation of agrivoltaic farmers.
Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing
- YouTube Video: Agrivoltaics: Solar Panels Bring Life to Struggling Farms | NowThis
- Solar Panels + Agriculture: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, CleanTechnica
- “Solar Lease Considerations for Landowners” Webinar Recording & Slides, presented by Nebraska & Ohio Extension Specialists. The webinar gives an overview of solar development and addresses major issues for farmers, landowners, and their families to consider when negotiating a long term, utility-scale solar lease agreement.
- National Agriculture Law Center: Farmland Owner’s Guide To Solar Leasing
- Department of Energy Guides
Farmer’s Guide to Going Solar
Small Wind Guidebook
- The Solar Power Bonanza: Farmers Can Readily Tap Into The Explosive Growth In Solar Generation, Successful Farming
- How wind turbines are providing a safety net for rural farmers, World Resources Institute
On a farm in O’Neill, Nebraska, Mike Zakrzewski wakes up every morning to tend his cattle and grow corn and soybeans on the farm he’s known since childhood. The youngest of nine children, he began farming with his dad in 1982, eventually buying the land from his parents and raising two children there with his wife. But due to climate change, this corner of Nebraska is not the same land he farmed with his father almost four decades ago.
The Land Report
Bill Gates: America’s Top Farmland Owner, The Land Report
Land Report Infographic: Bill and Melinda Gates own farmland across 18 states,
including among their largest holdings 20,588 acres in Nebraska.
In January 2020, The Land Report announced the launch of a sustainability standard that was developed by US farmland owners and operators. Called Leading Harvest, the organization’s goal is to create a sustainability standard that can be implemented across the greatest swath of agricultural acreage. Currently, more than 2 million acres in 22 states and an additional 2 million acres in seven countries are represented. Among the participants in the 13-member Sustainable Agriculture Working Group are Ceres Partners, Hancock Natural Resources Group, The Rohaytn Group, and UBS Farmland Investors.
America’s 100 Largest Landowners 2020, The Land Report
Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card, February 2020, Nebraska Department of Agriculture
Nebraska’s Natural Resources
- Nebraska’s farms and ranches utilize 45 million acres, 92% of the state’s total land area.
- Nebraska is fortunate to have aquifers below it. If poured over the surface of the state, the water in those aquifers would have a depth of 37.9 feet.
- Nearly 80,000 miles of rivers and streams add to Nebraska’s bountiful natural resources.
- There are 22 million acres of rangeland and pastureland in Nebraska, half of which are in the Sandhills.