; Encouraging Mid-Atlantic Producer Autonomy in Land Use Decision-Making through Peer Learning Initiatives | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Encouraging Mid-Atlantic Producer Autonomy in Land Use Decision-Making through Peer Learning Initiatives

Elizabeth Thilmany and Paul Goeringer


This poster presentation outlines our ongoing Extension program addressing the legal and economic dimensions of large-scale solar development's implications on Maryland's (MD) leading industry, agriculture. As MD's solar carve-out goal creates tensions, our work aims to empower producers and rural landowners with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their land.

Building on previous Extension education efforts, we bridge marketing, asset management, and business planning with solar leasing. We address the pressing issue of landowners entering long-term contracts without sufficient and unbiased information, leading to challenging and risky situations.

By providing resources to realtors, lenders, UMD Extension, and agricultural stakeholders, we aim to empower landowners, resulting in more favorable and less risky contract terms. Through a combination of in-person and virtual formats, including engaging virtual webinars with live polling and peer group discussions, we ensure broad accessibility and active participation.

This project seeks to positively impact Maryland's agricultural landscape by equipping landowners with the tools they need to navigate utility-scale solar leasing, promoting economic resilience, and supporting sustainable land use decisions. Additionally, future attendees should gain confidence in assessing renewable energy projects' viability, benefits, and considerations within their agricultural operations, fostering connections with other landowners.

This Extension programming, recognized through the AAEA GSS & EXT competition, is open to all landowners in the Mid-Atlantic. Currently underway, this poster presentation will reflect on programming set to happen in February and March.

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2021-70027-34693.