Renewable Energy

Photo credit: USDA

Important Update:

Please note that the Grassroots Guide has not yet been updated to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed and signed into law in December 2018. We are in the process of updating the Guide and expect to publish an updated version in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, please use this guide for basic information about programs and important resources and links for more information, but check with USDA for any relevant program changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Also, check out our blog series covering highlights from the new farm bill. 

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.