Farming solar can help farms fulfill primary role

In Kern County, there's a growing debate about agricultural land conversion to solar farms. As a farmer who has owned and worked land here for 22 years, I believe there's a bigger, more immediate threat to our farms than solar development: uncertain and undependable water availability.
Rising water costs, competition uses and reduced deliveries from the State Water Project all factor into our decisions on which land to farm, how much it can yield and, ultimately, how productive our agricultural operations will be.
Considering the extra time, labor and investment needed to produce high-quality crops, leasing portions of our farming operations -- especially the acres with poorer soil quality -- for development into solar farms can provide economic benefits and boost the livelihood of the other crops being planted.
The water resources from that land and revenue from the lease are literally plowed back into our more productive agricultural operations to improve output, water supply certainty and profit margins. The No. 1 priority for the Kern County Board of Supervisors is to ensure that productive agricultural operations succeed on the best agricultural land in the county and it is just the help we need to strengthen production in these economic times.
I believe that strengthening the agricultural output of Kern raises up the entire community by providing dollars to reinvest in the community, in jobs and in revenue for our county. Solar should be an option for farmers where it makes the most sense for them.
Dick Considine


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