Cornell Program Webinar Briefly Examines Solar Development and Farmland Issue | State News

LOWVILLE – To rent or not to rent is the question many farmers in the state, especially in the north of the country, are asking themselves after being approached with a possible rental agreement by developers of solar farms.

Matt Johnson, Director of Planning for the Tug Hill Commission, and David Kay, Senior Extension Associate for the Department of Global Development at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, gave an overview of the different rules, laws and guidelines that govern site selection. for large-scale solar projects while drawing attention to land opportunities available and adopted by solar companies during a one-hour webinar hosted by Cornell University’s Climate Smart Farming Program on Friday.

Mr Kay said work was underway on specific laws on solar leasing and topics such as the collocation of pastures, field crops and ‘pollinators’ – bushes and perennials that attract bees. , butterflies and other pollinating insects.

Mr. Kay advises farmers who are approached by solar developers and offered a lease to carefully read the entire agreement themselves, talk to local experts on land use and ” take a lawyer ”.

Mr Johnson told the more than 100 webinar participants about the legal tools that city governments can use, such as creating a temporary ban on certain types of land use planning to give them time to create a land use plan. full territory.

Strong local zoning laws and a zoning council willing to use all the tools at its disposal can help ensure the use of prime agricultural land and the negative impact on the community as a whole is minimized. These tools include requesting decommissioning plans and requesting a bond or deposit so that decommissioning can be completed even if something happens to the company.

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