Our Mission is To Keep Agriculture Thriving

At AGPROfessionals Our Mission is to Keep Agriculture Thriving

For nearly 25 years, AGPROfessionals has been a proud developer and advocate of all types of agricultural business in Colorado and throughout the United States. The fingerprints of our work have been on nearly every major agricultural project in Morgan County in the last quarter-century. We are unapologetic about our focus to keep agriculture thriving and growing.

However, with the challenges facing common agricultural practices, keeping agriculture thriving and growing is becoming more complex every year. Agriculture is under significant regulatory pressure to lower its carbon footprint and reduce environmental impacts without regard for the producer's costs. Satisfying those pressures and keeping our clients in business is complicated.

Every day, farmers and ranchers face rules and regulations that make it harder to produce. Some of the challenges producers face are as follows:

  • Row crop farmers are unable to aerial spray anymore due to urban encroachment and their options to protect their crops are continually decreasing.
  • Land prices and taxes are climbing from urban encroachment.
  • Routine complaints are lodged against farmers and ranchers about dust or odors from acceptable farming practices and lawmakers are responding with no regard for the right-to-farm laws.
  • Attacks from our own state and federal government are nonstop along with ever-increasing regulations of our labor.
  • The media and urban marketing firms are constantly pushing disinformation campaigns about our animal welfare and our use of technology to genetically improve production output using less land, water, and chemicals.

Diversifying is Key to the Survival of Agriculture in America

The supplemental income from renewable energy has been essential for many producers. It has made the difference between continuing to operate or shut down. When farms and ranches are forced to discontinue operations, everyone from the family going out of business to the local community suffers.

AGPROfessionals has been an advocate and developer of the use of solar for almost ten years and we are proud to work with our agricultural client and the Taelor Solar project which will be built on a portion of their land. We have also helped find solutions and other uses for our clients’ natural resources to supplement their income. It is exceedingly difficult for our clients to make a reasonable profit year after year on only commodity agriculture production.

Renewable Energy Takes Many Forms

We have developed dozens of anaerobic digesters around the United States, keeping many agricultural producers in business. These anaerobic digesters convert manure, which many consider a waste or merely a fertilizer that few will pay for, into an asset that is more environmentally beneficial while retaining the digestate for fertilizer. We incorporate a solar component into the digester project because it lowers the carbon intensity score and offsets the electricity required to compress the gas into the interstate pipelines.

Only some agriculture producers are situated like a dairy near an interstate gas pipeline to take advantage of these opportunities; however, many larger agricultural landowners are located in the right environment and near the infrastructure suitable for a solar project. Magnum Feedlot and the Rumsey Ranch are two such agricultural businesses where the land they own is more productive for solar than other uses and the location is close to the infrastructure needed to deliver the electricity the land is capable of generating.

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We Are Proud of Our Work Developing Income Streams for Agricultural Producers

AGPROfessionals has helped convert defunct poultry farms into solar arrays where the infrastructure pre-existed versus those properties being covered with urban development. We have pioneered rooftop solar on large dairy freestall barns where many acres of covered rooftops would otherwise be wasted. We have used solar to cut the electricity expenses of modern robotic dairy farms. As a matter of fact, one of our key partners is a developer of solar projects for farms and ranches. They work with the Farm Credit system to finance and capitalize on tax credits for farmers that would otherwise go to urban interests and investors; all to help our agricultural clients cut costs, save on taxes, and reduce their carbon footprint.

Now, we are working with ranchers in the area to develop solar on portions of their land that are not best suited financially for grazing livestock. This project helps to make unproductive land productive.

Diversifying is Key to the Survival of Agriculture in America

To deny those with the opportunity to create additional income that helps sustain their core agricultural business model is a recipe for watching agriculture continue to contract and disappear. It has been thought in many agricultural circles that someday, the income from manure, energy, or re-envisioning the use of agricultural lands, could generate as much or more income than their commodity milk, beef, or corn. Restricting a farmer or rancher from using their rangeland, which is barely adequate to pay for itself by grazing cattle, or better yet, providing any return on cash or return on invested capital, is relegating them to a slow demise. Additional income streams, in the form of renewable energy, are key steps producers can make to keep their agricultural business going.

What is the community benefit of maintaining agricultural lands for open space and habitat, which we all enjoy but only one of us, the producer, pays for? Carbon sequestration and regenerative farming are becoming ways for farmers to have those promoting climate change regulations pay for it while benefiting the farmer.

Senate Bill 21-072 Opens the Door for Income Opportunities and Savings

When Senate Bill 21-072 was signed into law in 2021, it set up communities across Colorado to benefit from lower energy costs by harnessing competitive market forces. The bill mandated that all transmission owning utilities in Colorado form a competitive wholesale energy market by 2030. This will break up the current monopoly on wholesale power generation and will open the door for independent power generators to offer electricity in a competitive wholesale marketplace often referred to as a Regional Transmission Operator (RTO). The cost to use the existing transmission system by independent power generators will be familiar to any agricultural producer who has sold commodities for a living. The transmission system use cost will be calculated based on a power plant’s injection location and newly formed settlement hubs. Another important distinction that will benefit Colorado residents is that when older, less competitive, or poorly conceived power plants are no longer able to competitively offer power at prevailing wholesale power prices, the losses will be borne by the private sector rather than showing up on residents’ utility bills as stranded assets.

Of note, many Colorado electric municipal utilities and electric cooperatives recently declared their intent to join the expanded version of the existing competitive wholesale energy market known as the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The expanded version is called SPP West. The list of utilities and cooperatives to date includes Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Colorado Springs Utilities, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Platte River Power Authority, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Authority (from whom Morgan County REA sources most of its wholesale power), and Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

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Map of the expanded SPP West RTO (dark red) alongside the existing SPP RTO (light red):

Renewable Energy is Already at Work in Morgan County to Support Agriculture

In the Wiggins area, AGPROfessionals has developed three of Colorado's largest anaerobic renewable natural gas digesters. These digesters are providing gas to markets where the gas has the most value. Even though the gas is sold to the highest paying market out of state, the construction money and continuing commercial taxes will help support the community. Most importantly, these digesters provide an additional source of income and diversification to a very fickle dairy market.

Oil and Gas

The same anti-solar thinking would apply to the many multi-generational ranches in eastern Colorado that were able to keep their land in the family and prevent breaking it up to sell to investors or for development. They have been able to preserve these large expanses of land by taking advantage of the oil and gas resources under their property.

Our experience in the area shows that energy development created tremendous opportunities for businesses, jobs, and more. Many at-risk small towns, rural school districts, and other communities survived and benefited from oil and gas.

Advocating for Agriculture

AGPROfessionals has always been a staunch advocate for agriculture. Advocating for agriculture means embracing technology, genetic improvements, autonomy, robotics, and even the new energy economy with projects like Taelor Solar. If the pressure on agriculture to lower their carbon footprint and the new energy economy is being forced upon the industry, taking advantage and being able to convert an expense and liability into an asset and income while providing energy for all of us should be championed.

AGPROfessionals has always been on the side of agriculture.

By supporting projects like Taelor Solar for our agricultural clients, we are employing every advantage to ensure agriculture not only survives but thrives. Keeping our agriculture clients in business, with the jobs they create and their financial benefit circulating in the community, should also be championed. When agriculture thrives, so do the surrounding communities.