As the federal government hands out billions of dollars to subsidize, push, prod and canoodle companies into jump-starting a green revolution in the U.S., one segment of the economy has been more or less left out. That would be farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has gotten only a few tens of millions of dollars to underwrite grants and programs to promote rural alternative energy projects.

Still, acccording to the AP, the ranks of farmers who are producing their own power is increasing. But what's even more striking is how few now do so, considering the nature of their business and their access to precious energy commodities such as large acreage needed for solar panels and steady winds needed for wind-power generation. According to U.S. government figures collected in 2007, just over 1 percent of the 2 million U.S. farms are producing their own electricity, reported Cleantech.

More discouraging still, renewable energy production on farms increased by only 5% between 2007 and 2008. This meager rise came despite the vulnerability of low-margin farming operations to dramatically higher power prices and, more broadly, to indirect oil costs in fertilizer and tractor fuel, among other areas.

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