In response to misleading anti-transmission editorial, Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to voice his support for wind energy development, and the great benefits it brings to American farmers and ranchers:
With 98%-99% of wind-farm land free for other uses, wind has little impact on farmers and ranchers. [Critics ignore] the benefits of low-cost wind energy and the necessity of transmission projects to deliver wind’s consumer savings to ratepayers across the country. Because wind power’s costs have fallen 66% in six years, wind energy is now one of the best ways to help American homeowners and businesses save money.
In the long-held precedent of our country, eminent-domain capability has been granted to a variety of infrastructure projects for the public good—pipelines, rail lines and electricity transmission lines are all cases in point.
Wind power acts as a drought-resistant cash crop for family farmers and ranchers, returning nearly $200 million every year in land lease payments. In Missouri alone, rural landowners receive $1.4 million annually from these payments. Across the country land lease payments from wind total $195 million each year. Added to that are property tax revenues paid to local counties by wind-power farm developers, which rural communities use to build new schools, roads and health-care facilities.
With 98%-99% of wind-farm land free for other uses, wind has little impact on farmers and ranchers. In fact, it protects a critical resource for them during times of drought, saving 36.5 billion gallons of water, the equivalent of 275 million water bottles, every year. The benefits in this case largely outweigh the costs.
Farmers and ranchers know well the tremendous benefit that wind development can bring to their operations and leaders like Mr. Johnson are helping spread the facts.