Supporting Agricultural Landowners to Make Decisions about Solar Development: Training for Service Providers

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2024: $99,792.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2027
Grant Recipient: American Farmland Trust
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Addie Candib
American Farmland Trust
Chantel Welch
American Farmland Trust


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The proposed project will build on American Farmland Trust’s
Smart Solar℠ work by adapting an existing Pacific Northwest solar
leasing guidebook for farm and ranchland owners in California,
and by developing and offering a train-the-trainer program for
agricultural service providers in California, Idaho, Oregon, and
Washington, to prepare them to help agricultural producers and
landowners make informed decisions about renewable solar energy
development and land leasing. By equipping agricultural service
providers with resources and information to help farmers and
ranchers understand risks and challenges associated with solar
energy infrastructure development, potential financial benefits,
and opportunities with agrivoltaics, the proposed project will
address Western SARE goals related to good stewardship,
environmental implications, quality of life, and diversification.
As a result of this project, producers and agricultural
landowners throughout California, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho
will have increased access to resources and technical assistance
to help them make informed decisions about solar energy
development on their land. A minimum of 50 agricultural technical
service providers from CDs, NRCS, extension offices, NGOs, and
other entities will be trained to provide technical assistance to
producers and landowners on solar development and the California
Solar Leasing Guide, project training curriculum, and associated
materials will be made publicly available for free for others to
likewise use on AFT’s Farmland Information Center (FIC)
clearinghouse website. AFT also will set up an online network for
trainees to access resources, troubleshoot challenges, and share
best lessons learned that will extend beyond the life of this
grant. During the project, AFT will host quarterly check-in calls
for the cohort, and be available to provide support to trainees
post-training as needed.

Project objectives from proposal:

The proposed project's objectives are as follows: 

  1. Educate and empower 50 agricultural service providers in
    Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California to inform agricultural
    producers and landowners, and other agricultural professionals,
    on the threats and opportunities of renewable solar energy
    development on agricultural land.
  2. Increase at least 200 Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and
    California agricultural landowners' knowledge and ability to
    protect the long-term viability of their farmland through access
    to clear, concise, and regionally specific solar leasing
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.