Before my father passed away in 2019, one of his last wishes was to leave the Sirois Farm to us, ensuring the next generation would continue the family farm. That was important to my dad, but the odds weren’t looking so good until Orion Renewable Energy Group came along. As a participating landowner in the Goodland Solar Farm Project, I wish my Dad could’ve been here to see how leasing part of our property to build a solar farm will not only ensure his lasting legacy, but sustain our family farm for many generations to come.

Living on a family farm is both hard work and rewarding. You can’t help but to care for the land, because you become part of it as it becomes part of you.

In today’s economy, we’re no different than other family farmers who struggle to keep our farms operational due to corporate buyouts, unpredictable weather, market fluctuations, climate change and various other threats. When Orion approached my family, we did our due diligence on the company and the solar energy industry. We concluded that putting in a solar farm on part of our property not only gives us year-round revenue that’s dependable, but we’re actually preserving farmland for decades.

Just as important, the Goodland Solar Farm Project benefits our township by creating hundreds of construction jobs lasting up to a year, as well as several well-paying full-time jobs thereafter. Once operational, the solar farm will generate millions of dollars of new tax revenue for the township that can go towards our schools, fire and police, and even infrastructure such as paving our dirt roads.

It can be expected that few neighbors who live close to the proposed solar farm will have questions that deserve to be addressed as Orion’s solar farm application begins processing through the township. However, there are self-appointed opponents, who live miles away from the project, who are campaigning with a zero-sum agenda that dismisses my rights as a property owner, and the rights of dozens of other family farmers to farm our land, and to farm the sun.

This is troubling to me, because I’m a resident who has always played by the rules, paid my property taxes, and lived an honest life. Yet, when you listen to these opponents, it’s as if we don’t matter, that we’re naive or even greedy. I’m almost expected to apologize for doing what’s best for my family, while bringing in a project that creates economic benefits, so it’s a win-win opportunity that I’m proud to have brought to our community.

If you have any questions about the application recently filed, Orion has a website Check it out and see for yourself.

I pray that our township officials won’t be distracted by opponents who claim to be protecting farmland, but who’ve never had to put food on the table on a farmer’s salary.

I’m proud of the solar farm project that’s up for consideration, and I’m hopeful that the project proposal is approved so that I can continue my dad’s legacy and Sirois Farm for generations to come.

—Terry Dodd,
Goodland Twp.