September 23, 2009 For Immediate Release
OFA opposes solar farm installations on farmland
GUELPH – With such a small amount of good, productive land available to produce food in Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is opposed to solar panel installations on Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 Farmland says Don McCabe, Vice-President of the OFA.
With 825 million square feet of corporate roof alone in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), he said that would be a much more appropriate place for solar panels. “We need the productive soils of Ontario for food and fiber production,” he says. “Farmers already have solar collectors at work on their farms with plant leaves soaking up the sun and growing – a natural process that enhances the productivity of the soil.”
“Solar panels installed to produce electricity do not sequester carbon like the plants in a farmers’ field. We need those plants to work effectively removing carbon from the atmosphere, reducing greenhouse gases, and still be filling the grocery stores with the lights on,” McCabe says.
As it is, McCabe says, “Ontario farmers have access to only 13 per cent of the private land in Ontario for production of food, fiber, and we don’t want to lose any of that to the installation of solar panels.”
Solar technology has its place. Currently, small scale solar is being actively used to pump water and other activities on Ontario farms. Solar technology can be properly placed on rooftops or less productive soils recognized by Class 5, 6, and 7 designations – these soils are less rewarding for agricultural production.
A balance of needs is what is being offered here by the OFA, McCabe says.