Prime farmland is
defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “land that has the best
combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed,
forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is available for these uses.”
The USDA National Resources Inventory takes stock of existing prime farmland,
revealing that there are ample acres of usable farmland in the Midwest for both
the food and energy sectors.
While solar and wind do require many of the same land qualities as crops, they do
not specifically require prime farmland for success. However, limiting use of
prime farmland can infringe upon private property rights and hinder development
of projects that are vital to the success of our energy goals and beneficial to
our communities. Developers should consider all possible sites to best serve
the community, the environment and our clean energy needs.