WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) is working to ensure that prime and unique farmland is used for farming by introducing legislation today that restricts access to federal tax credits for companies converting these properties into solar panels tracts. The PANELS Act would not prevent a farmer from leasing their property for solar panels, but it would reduce the economic incentive for companies to do so.
“We are losing precious and productive farmland to companies that are gobbling up acre after acre to install solar panels,” said Bost. “That has a big impact on America’s agricultural supply chain, our food security, and our local economies. My legislation provides a commonsense solution by excluding prime and unique farmland from receiving solar clean energy tax credits. We’re saying to our farmers that you still have the private property rights to make the decision that’s best for you; but we’re not incentivizing companies to swoop into our rural communities to convert these vital plots of land.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines prime farmland as land having the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics to produce food, feed, and crops with the minimum amount of fuel, fertilizer, and pesticides. Unique farmland is used for a specific, high value crop, such as citrus, tree nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables.