Yearning for Bucolic lifestyle of yesteryear

Some dream for the bucolic viewscapes possible when tobacco and dairy enterprises funded rural Mason County. Sadly neither are now a viable alternative for most area farms.

Kentucky Agricultural Statistics 2018 Annual Bulletin (page 7) estimates Mason County’s annual cash rent for pasture was $25/ acre. After the Mason County property tax of $7.58 is paid, an acre of grazing land has only $17.42 for a year’s maintenance, improvements, and such, even before the land yields return on the owner’s investment.

On the other hand, Solar pays between $500 and $1000 lease payment per acre per year. Solar does not pollute. It reduces soil erosion and the quantity of agricultural chemicals entering our watersheds.

While a few landowners can afford to own land only as a lifestyle choice,most landowners can not and must be very interested in this new alternative land use. However, not only the landowner benefits from transitioning land to solar. Local tax districts will typically receive $244.38 from one acre of Solar, compared to the $7.58 per acre average farmland now contributes. This 3124% increase can have this result when considered over the 30-year life, if 6,000 acres, less than 4% of Mason County’s farmland, is Solar.

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