New Bill Would Shield Farmland From Key Wind and Solar Subsidy

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Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) has introduced new legislation that would eliminate the energy credit for wind and solar installations if they are operated by a public utility on agricultural land.

Known as the Future Agriculture Retention and Management Act of 2022, or FARM Act of 2022, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means on Feb. 28.

“I kept hearing stories about how productive agricultural land in Wisconsin and around the country was being used for these projects,” Tiffany said in an interview with The Epoch Times.

“It deeply concerns me that we’re going to take productive agricultural land out of production for something that’s intermittent and requires enormous subsidies to survive in the marketplace.”

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has found that solar photovoltaic power in Tiffany’s state, Wisconsin, has a capacity factor of just 16 percent, meaning it is far less productive than Wisconsin’s nuclear, hydroelectric, natural gas, and coal power.

Tiffany told The Epoch Times that a farmer in western Wisconsin reached out to him last year and said he was being offered $800 an acre and 25 years of guaranteed rent to put up utility-scale solar on his property.

According to Tiffany, a typical farmer in his district would pay $150 to $200 an acre in rent. That’s in line with a 2020 state-level estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which listed an average price of $138 per acre.

“This farmer was really concerned about this. He said, ‘I could do this and make a bunch of money—but that’s not the best thing for America, especially when it comes to food production,’” Tiffany said.

“Some of the rent offers per acre for land, for wind, and solar are just something that normal farmers can’t compete with,” said Isaac Orr, an energy expert at the Center of the American Experiment, in an interview with The Epoch Times.

By Nathan Worcester

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