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In the US, both the Federal Government and states are looking for ways to transition to renewable energy and conserve farm and ranch land.

They’ve implemented programs and incentives to achieve these goals.

These programs generally don’t overlap, though agricultural land is ideal for hosting alternative energy projects.

However, in some instances, you may earn money or receive tax breaks for leasing land for solar farm development on preserved agricultural land.

Earn Money from Solar Companies by Leasing Land for Solar Farm

Farmers and ranchers are increasingly renting out a portion of their land for solar development.

This arrangement provides a steady, reliable income that can be a lifeline during the inevitable lean times.

While traditional farming and ranching practices are generally not possible on solar farms, certain crops and grazing animals are suitable around solar panels.

Solar companies typically lease anywhere from 5-50 acres for 20-30 years and pay landowners a per-acre rate for the use of their land.

Participate in Federal Conservation Programs

Another way ranchers and farmers are bringing in some extra cash is through the Government’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Under this program, landowners are paid to remove parcels that the US Department of Agriculture identifies as environmentally sensitive and plant ground cover that improves ecosystem health.

In exchange, the government pays the farmers rent for the conserved land.

Ranchers have a similar option with the grasslands CRP, though the goal of this program is to maintain grazing and pasturelands so that ranchers can continue operations.

CRP contracts are usually 10-15 years.

If you are leasing land for solar farm utilities, you may still be able to enroll in the CRP program.

While it isn’t a standard practice, you may be able to make a case for co-locating a solar farm and CRP land.

The solar farm must meet the conservation criteria, and you would need to reach an agreement before signing any contract.

Find out About State Conservation Program Requirements

Many states also have farm and ranch conservation and preservation programs.

Every state has its own set of rules for how these programs work and what the restrictions are.

As most states have established alternative energy goals, you can likely expect regulations to change regarding leasing land to solar farm development on conserved lands.

Michigan Takes the Lead on Allowing Solar Farms on Preserved Farmland

Michigan is the first state to announce a formal decision allowing farmers and ranchers who participate in the state’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program to also host a solar farm on their land.

With this announcement, program participants can receive solar farm funds and their tax incentives.

Other states will likely begin to follow suit.

Learn More About Leasing Land for Solar Farm

At Unbound Solar®, we believe agricultural producers have a significant role in feeding the world, protecting the environment, and helping the country transition to alternative energy.

You should have the opportunity to earn an income for all the vital work you do.

We’re passionate about finding a solar situation that works for you.

If you have questions about solar energy or leasing land for solar farm development, get in touch.

We’re here for you!

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