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Friday, December 2, 2011

Iowa farmers find profits blowing in the wind

From an article by Jim Offner in The Courier:

WATERLOO, Iowa --- Of the 480 acres Tim Hemphill owns and 1,200 he farms near Milford, he sets aside three for two wind-turbine towers.

In exchange for the small plot of land Hemphill would have devoted to his corn and soybean products, he collects $20,000 a year.

"It's worth it, even with high grain prices," Hemphill said. "When we put them up, corn was around $3 a bushel, and it has doubled since then, but it's still worth it."

"The check's always good," he said.

Hemphills's towers have been up for two years, and the checks will flow in quarterly for the run of a 30-year contract, he said.

Hemphill said he is but one of an increasing number of Iowa farmers who have watched wind towers go up on their acreages.

"There's quite a few farmers I know who have them," he said. "My neighbor has six of them and another with seven."

Hemphill said his motivation transcends finances, although he acknowledges the income certainly doesn't hurt.

"I think we need more green energy," he said. "People in California and the cities have brownouts. Besides, it's a good revenue source."

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