Farmers and ranchers don’t always just produce food to eat – many also are developing innovative renewable energy projects on their land. Energy saving measures and energy producing facilities that use wind, solar, biomass, and other renewable sources can decrease energy costs and provide additional income for farmers, ranchers and rural businesses. Increased use of renewable energy also reduces U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources and, in many cases, provides environmental benefits.
Renewable energy projects on farms are a win-win for farmers and the environment.
For that to happen, incentives and programs should be tailored so that emerging renewable energy industries benefit family farmers and rural communities while safeguarding soil, water, and biodiversity, and prioritizing energy efficiency and conservation. Fortunately, the 2014 Farm Bill renewed funding for energy programs including the Rural Energy for America Program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
This section of our guide provides an overview of the key federal programs focused on grants and loans for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems on working lands like farms and ranches.