Mother nature is farmers’ economic opportunity

Recently, our country’s first offshore wind farm was created six miles from Hyannis Port, Mass., which has renewed interest in the wind-power industry.

Wind power is the fastest-growing energy source in the world and farmers could take advantage of the weather opportunity.

An article in Distributed Energy cleverly titled, “Wind: The easiest crop to harvest,” outlines the benefits of wind farming for our country’s farmers and ranchers.

“Farming is all about maximizing profits and reducing risk. Wind energy does both,” said Patrick Pelstring, National Wind co-chair, the nation's leading utility-scale community wind developer.

For example, farmers can lease land to wind developers, use wind generated from wind turbines located on their farms to power their own farms and/or become wind-power producers to capitalize their land.

“Now we grow corn on the ground and generate power in the air—all on the same piece of property," said Delbert Watson, a farmer in Clear Lake, Iowa, in a Christian Science Monitor article. outlines the land-lease process for farmers at its Web site.

According to a blog posted at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) "Wind Powering America" initiative has set a goal of producing five percent of the nation's electricity from wind by 2020. DOE projects meant to achieve this goal will provide $60 billion in capital investment to rural America, $1.2 billion in new income to farmers and rural landowners and 80,000 new jobs during the next 20 years.”

Wind farm facts (National Wind)
  • Wind turbines are much quieter than most people think
  • Each turbine needs a plot of about 100 acres to separate it from other turbines (the actual footprint of each turbine is less than one acre).
  • Typical lease arrangements for placement of a 1.5-megawatt turbine on property run between $6,000 and $9,000 a year.
Not only can farmers use wind turbines to supplement their income, but in an industry dependent on the weather, wind farms can also serve as a buffer against unfavorable conditions.

“This allows the farmer to diversify his income and reduce risk,” said Pelstring. “After construction is complete, the practice of farming continues as it has for generations, with the bonus of added financial security.”

Farmers used to diversify their income by adding new commodity crops to their rotation. But now, depending on their wind-assessment results, they could look to wind farming as lucrative earning potential.

*Photo obtained from

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