Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eco-friendly Sustainable Farming

-- Quote of the Day -- 

 “It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.” 

~ Sydney Harris

 -- Positive News  --

Farmers who are looking to stand out as being unique in a highly competitive marketplace while diversifying income from their land may well be interested in looking at sharing… sharing the sun that is. Now you’ve heard me mention that in some areas they are experimenting with sharing land with tall wind power turbines and crops in between them on the ground. This idea is a similar one to what I’m talking about here in that solar panels can be spaced out in a grid fashion over the land and crops can still be grown underneath. When you think about it, farmland has an immense square footage use of earth’s surface, and farmers are subject to environmental changes that can make, or break them annually. Forward-thinking farmers are becoming more eco-friendly by attracting birds, allowing space for wildlife and wilderness, planting wind break shrubs and using organic and even no-till methods. They are increasingly growing more sustainably through crop rotation, soil improvement and also growing multi-crops (avoiding monoculture). 

These new initiatives though are offering a much greater advantage for communities looking for ways of bringing in green energy while supporting the farmers.  In a trial run done in Japan they found that just 272 solar panels on farm land can produce about $10,700 annually, enough to pay off the investment in less than 7 years. Once this experiment became known, the interest has spread like wild fire and farmers everywhere are becoming intrigued by the possibilities, including using some of the power generated by the panels on site - for irrigation, or machinery or lighting – as well as selling excess back to the power company. There have been companies sprouting up who are either renting roof space to put their solar panels on, or renting solar panels out for people to have installed on their roof and maintained by the company without the huge expense of purchasing the panels themselves. Additionally, there are government rebates for people investing in solar, wind or geothermal power. Any of these, or a combination of these options might make it possible for farmers to reduce the costs of producing food while creating another steady stream of income.  

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