Corn Growers See Potential Profit in the Wind

WASHINGTON, DC, August 3, 2001 (ENS) - In a new survey of the nations' corn growers, the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) has found overwhelming support for wind power development and its positive impact on production agriculture.

At the same time, the survey shows farmers continue to question the seriousness of global warming and what, if any, detrimental effects it would have on farm productivity.

The survey of 509 farmers who have a minimum of 100 acres of corn planted was conducted between June 14 and 23 by Robinson and Muenster Associates Inc. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The poll was conducted as part of the ACGA's Wealth From the Wind Program.

A vast majority - 88 percent - of respondents stated they support wind energy development. Half of the respondents stated that wind energy can provide additional farm income.

turbines

Wind turbines and agriculture are a good mix at this Buffalo Ridge wind farm in southwest Minnesota. (Photos by Warren Gretz courtesy National Renewable Energy Lab)
Almost half - 47 percent - of respondents stated they would be willing to invest in wind power projects, and 30 percent said they would "lease a small portion of their farm to a power generator for the placement of wind turbines" as a way to gain financial rewards from wind power.

Sixty-two percent of respondents want the government to provide financial incentives to farmers who want to become involved in the wind industry.

All respondents were asked, "If wind powered energy helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that helps to reduce the threat of global warming, should farmers, industry and public institutions promote wind power as an alternative energy source?"

A wide majority - 85 percent - stated that farmers, industry and public institutions should promote wind power as an alternative energy source, while 10 percent stated that it should not be promoted.

"Corn producers recognize that wind power generation can be a positive force in diversifying farm income and making land more productive if proper governmental incentives are offered," said Larry Mitchell, chief executive officer of the ACGA.

harvest

The wind blowing corn dust at harvest time might turn a wind turbine to generate electricity.
While wind programs drew a positive response, 62.3 percent of corn growers believe the debate over global climate change is either overblown or imaginary, 53.6 percent do not take the threat of climate change seriously and 64.6 percent do not believe the productivity of their farms are threatened by a changing climate.

"Although farmers have a negative response to concerns about climate change, 56.4 percent believe that carbon sequestration can reduce greenhouse gas emission. Another 85.1 percent said that wind power should be promoted if it helps reduce emissions and helps reduce the threat of global warming," said Dan McGuire, policy committee chair of the ACGA.

"Even though farmers may be skeptical about global climate change, they recognize that positive and proactive measures by production agriculture, including wind power generation and ethanol utilization, can help clean the environment and reduce harmful emissions," he said.

The Wealth From the Wind Program, developed by the American Corn Growers Foundation, recognizes the economic and environmental benefits of wind power generation on America's farmers and rural communities. The program unites production agriculture in the promotion and development of farmer owned wind cooperatives and other wind projects all across the Midwest.

The complete survey is available at: http://www.acga.org/programs/2001WindCCS/