Farms Of Today And The Future

by Dennis Machicao

Today’s farms, like most other businesses, are experiencing ever increasing costs like never before. Be them small family owned farms or large ones, farm management is an ever increasing challenge in preserving profitability from higher costs of equipment, fuel, transportation, current market pricing fluctuations to name a few factors in running and maintaining a farm’s financial health and plus all at the mercy of mother nature.

Generating energy power, be it with electricity, propane or fossil fuel is a considerable expense in running equipment used for irrigation, cold storage, milking and dairy production, heating and cooling of barns, processing procedures, lighting, running generators and electrifying fencing among many other functions.

In the quest of controlling production costs, it seems that farms are now beginning to consider and are taking advantage of modern technologies to produce energy and be sustainable at the same time. They are beginning to use solar energy.

In a 2009 USDA survey it was determined that about 8,000 farms have installed solar systems to power their agricultural functions and that number is increasing every year. Also the 60% decrease of solar system installation costs in the past years has also given farmers an incentive in considering solar power.

By installing solar paneling, farms have substantially cut their energy cost by reducing their dependence on propane, fossil fuels and their delivery costs, power supplied by the local electric grid system or paying to extend grid power lines for the farm’s use.  They are also able to take advantage of the substantial federal and local tax incentives that are available in installing solar energy systems.

Controlling farming costs is a challenge, and solar power seems to be a way of obtaining a substantial control of production costs now and in the future while at the same time saving energy dependence on fossil fuels and becoming a sustainable working farm.

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