Farmers have been using traditional windmills for generations to pump water and mill grain. Now, they are hosting modern wind turbines on their farmland to generate electricity.
Wind turbines are a stable source of income
The money they earn from leasing their land to wind companies is a stable source of income. This can help protect the farm from fluctuations in commodity prices or poor crop yields during drought years. It can also allow them to reinvest in their farming business by purchasing new equipment or making other improvements.
Turbines do not restrict farming operations
Farmers are able to continue farming the majority of their land.
- After the turbines and related infrastructure are installed, farming can continue nearly right to the base of the turbine.
- Each turbine only removes about ¼ to ½ of an acre from agricultural production.
- A typical wind farm leaves 98 percent of land undisturbed, meaning it’s free for other uses like farming and ranching.
- Often times the construction process will including creating new roads or updating existing roads, which can improve operations.
- If crops are damaged during construction, wind developers will typically reimburse the landowner for the lost revenue.
Drain tiles and drainage
The construction of a wind farm typically leaves a minimal footprint. Developers plan ahead to minimize damage to drain tiles by mapping the network ahead of time and avoiding tiles whenever possible. However, the operation of bulldozers and cranes during construction can occasionally damage drain tiles.
Wind developers partner with farmers and other landowners through the process of constructing and operating a wind farm to ensure that any drain tile damage is repaired, and provision is often usually covered in a landowner’s lease agreement with the developer.
Every day crop dusting pilots routinely fly near trees, power poles and wires, and other obstacles. Wind turbines are another structure to navigate around and may require some additional maneuvering to accommodate, but do not represent significant new challenges when compared to these other typical obstacles. Regardless, some crop dusting companies may charge extra for servicing land with turbines, or will designate specific pilots who have experience for jobs on wind farms.
Landowners have the ability to negotiate their lease with a wind farm developer to include specific provisions related to crop dusting, and wind developers typically employ various measures to ensure that landowners can continue to manage their farming operations effectively.
Wind farm developers and owners must also mark turbines and meteorological towers based on Federal Aviation Administration rules.