Farmer interest in leasing farmland for solar energy projects is on the rise

Farmer interest in leasing farmland for solar energy projects is on the rise, according to the latest Ag Economy Barometer.

Jim Mintert is the director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture.

“One third of the farms in our survey said they are aware of at least some solar leasing opportunities for their farming operation,” he says.

Thirty percent of ag producers surveyed say they’ve spoken with leasing companies about opportunities on their farms.

He tells Brownfield rates offered by companies varied.

“Thirty-two percent of the people said they were offered a rate of less than $500 per acre, 22 percent said $500-$700 per acre, 19 percent said $750-$1000, and 27 percent said they received an offer of $1000 an acre or more,” he says. “So, there’s a big disparity in those rates being offered and I think that’s indicative of a market that is really still in its early stages, and we haven’t converged on a normal or equilibrium lease rate.”

Mintert says the numbers reflect rates offered following completion of the development and construction phases.

A little less than three percent of farmers surveyed reported having signed a solar lease on their farmland.

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer is a monthly national survey of 400 U.S. agricultural producers.

Audio: Jim Mintert

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