February 24, 2011
On Wednesday, February 23, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of the 2009 survey on the contribution of America’s farms and ranches in the production of renewable energy.
Conducted as a follow-on to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the survey focused on three principal renewable energy systems: solar panels, wind turbines, and methane digesters. A response to the growing national interest in the increase in renewable energy production in the United States, the results are intended to help producers, policymakers, and the public better understand the contribution of on-farm energy production.
According to the NASS report, the 8,569 farms in the United States that reported producing on-farm energy in 2007, saved an average of $2,406 on their utility bills in 2009. The largest number of energy generating farms is located in California (over 20 percent of the U.S. total), and only Texas, Hawaii, and Colorado reported more than 500 operations generating renewable energy on the farm (see map). Results also show an increasing participation in on-farm energy production between 2005 to 2009.
Although not included in the report, disaggregated data by operation size could also provide insights on the most active players benefiting from this new economic opportunity.
The full report of the 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey is available to download from USDA’s Census of Agriculture website or download the Fact Sheet here.