Nailed to trees along the outskirts of Cam Dooner's property are handmade signs, adorned with messages like "f-off Dooner" and "no solar factory here".
The signs cropped up within weeks of the Maxwell farmer agreeing to lease 1000 hectares of his cattle and broadacre cereal farm to a Spanish energy giant, which has targeted the site for a major solar farm capable of powering more than 100,000 homes.
Residents in Maxwell, located just 20 kilometres south of Wagga, have rallied against the proposal and denounced it as a profit-driven waste of prime agricultural land.
Mr Dooner has come under fire for his role in the project, but says he is still "100 per cent confident" he has made the right decision for his farm, the community and the environment.
"I'm always looking for ways to do things a bit different on the farm and when I started looking at it the benefits became bigger and bigger," he said.
"Someone needed to do it and I'm quite happy to be the unpopular one in the area for the sake of the future."
The catalyst for the farmer's decision was years of environmental extremes such as droughts and floods, which sparked an urge to play a bigger role in the fight against climate change.
This sentiment was bolstered by the realisation that he could graze sheep alongside the solar panels, meaning the agricultural output for his farm would not be severely impacted.
Someone needed to do it and I'm quite happy to be the unpopular one in the area for the sake of the future.- Cam Dooner, Maxwell farmer
Mr Dooner said he was expecting some backlash to his decision, but admitted he was taken aback by the level of anger.
"It has taken me by surprise to be honest because people were dead-set against the idea of the solar farm and me for making that decision before any details were even known," he said.
About 80 local residents attended a community meeting about the proposed farm earlier this month and the project has also been the driving force behind the recent creation of the Riverina Sustainable Food Alliance, with the group receiving backing from Wagga MP Joe McGirr.
Mr Dooner said he disagrees with all of the arguments that have been put forward, the majority of which are centred around the panels being a visual blight on the landscape and the solar farm being built on "prime agricultural land".
"The land isn't being destroyed at all and it's not prime agricultural land," he said.
"If we're looking at a scale between one and 10, where one is the most productive land, it has been assessed between three and four."
The fate of the X-ELIO project lies with the NSW Department of Planning.
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