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Articles by Aston Brown, the Guardian

Aston Brown is a rural and regional reporter for Guardian Australia, based in Warwick in south-east Queensland.

Featured Article

As a flock of about 2,000 sheep graze between rows of solar panels, grazier Tony Inder wonders what all the fuss is about. “I’m not going to suggest it’s everyone’s cup of tea,” he says. “But as far as sheep grazing goes, solar is really good.”

Inder is talking about concerns over the encroachment of prime agricultural land by ever-expanding solar and windfarms, a well-trodden talking point for the loudest opponents to Australia’s energy transition.

But on Inder’s New South Wales property, a solar farm has increased wool production. It is a symbiotic relationship that the director of the National Renewables in Agriculture Conference, Karin Stark, wants to see replicated across as many solar farms as possible as Australia’s energy grid transitions away from fossil fuels.

“It’s all about farm diversification,” Stark says. “At the moment a lot of us farmers are reliant on when it’s going to rain, having solar and wind provides this secondary income.”

By keeping the grass trimmed,... Read more