CAMBRIDGE – When Carissa and Nathan Lyle were expecting their first child in 2017, they bought an old farmhouse on about three acres just west of Rockdale.
Nathan, a builder, emptied and renovated the house and added a garage and pole shed. Surrounded by farm fields, but still close to Madison and Janesville, Carissa said it was a great place – within their budget – to raise a family.
“We just wanted to be in the country, to have this environment that our kids can grow up in,” Carissa said.
She was stunned last winter when she saw the engineering plans for a 2,400-acre solar farm project that surrounded three sides of their house.
“It’s kind of a punch in the stomach,” she said. “It might not sound like what we thought. “
For Dennis Lund, a fourth generation farmer who lives about 3 miles from the Lyle, the project is a lifeline.
Lund, who grew up on a 140-acre farm that supported a family of 10, now farms with three of his brothers, growing corn and soybeans – as well as wheat, tobacco and cattle – on around 5,000 acres west of Cambridge.
Today, Lund gets a little more corn than his father did in the early 1970s, while newer tractors and combines can cost over $ 500,000, making it difficult for a family to make a living.