Within the last year there have been major changes in the farming communities that will prove to have devastating consequences to the future of farming in Ontario. The Provincial government (acting as a majority government) has passed the Green Energy Act. In doing so, they claim that the mandate of that government is to develop clean energy from sources such as solar and wind and that they, with Ontario Power Authority, will offer massive subsidies to land owners that will assist in generating electricity for the grid.
The two common ways of reaching their goal are as follows:
#1 The MicroFIT Program is one in which the land owner buys his own 10 kw (or less) generating unit and the Ontario Power Authority pays for the power that is fed into the grid. Most land owners place these structures where there is no significant loss of productive ground, whether the panels are placed on an existing roof, fencerow or barnyard. This program is to be encouraged.
#2 The FIT Program is where the land owner enters into a long term lease with a developer that will assume control over the land for up to thirty years. Under such arrangements, the land is fenced (8′), monitored with camera and motion sensors and the land is essentially lost to agriculture. Structures from 2-14′ high would then grace the land. This is not agriculture, but the construction of a long term electrical generating facility. The developer wants only large tracts of largely level land for his construction and has no concern for the land except as a base to hold the panels.
One developer from California claims to have tentative offers for 184 leases of Ontario land. If each parcel was 75 acres, that would equate to the loss of 13,800 acres. This is land that will never be back in food production as we know it – we’ll be telling you more about the devastating long-term effects of these “farms”.
This not a legacy our children want to see. Already there is valuable farmland lost to the uncontrolled growth of our cities, so surely the government has to think and act in a manner that is not selling out our farmland to largely foreign interests.