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Wind: The Easiest Crop to Harvest


Tue, Jan 5th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



Today's farmers are interested in wind energy because they're good managers; farming is all about maximizing profits and reducing risk. Wind energy does both. It's an additional, steady source of income that doesn't require extra work, a second crop that can be harvested without effort or significant use of land.

Some people might believe because wind turbines are such large structures that they take substantial acres of property out of production. This is a common misconception. In reality, wind turbines occupy a small area, leaving 99% of farmland in production.

A rule of thumb regarding wind farm land use is that, while each turbine generally needs a plot of about 100 acres separating it from other turbines, the actual footprint of each turbine is less than one acre. This footprint includes the area surrounding the turbine and all access roads. Therefore, each turbine occupies less than 1% of the open land required by a wind farm, leaving the other 99% of the property available as farmland or pasture.

To examine the impact wind energy can make on a small amount of land, let's envision a hypothetical farmer, John, who grows corn on 500 acres of land. According to the 2008 Riverland Community College Farm Business Management Annual Report for Southeast Minnesota, the average return per acre of corn from 1999-2008 was $60.13 per acre. A total of 500 acres of corn at $60.13 profit equals $30,065 per year. This is the farmer's return on labor and management after investing capital, labor, management and taking commodity and weather risks.

Now, imagine that John has five turbines on his farm, occupying five of his cropping acres, leaving him with 495 acres of corn. His farming conditions are the same, so from those acres he'll make $29,764 in profit, based on the 10 year average profit of $60.13 per acre. But add in the revenue from the turbines--$35,000 total assuming $7,000 per turbine (on the low end of what National Wind pays)--and his total profits increase to $64,764 per year. This would be almost double his profits from growing only corn without turbines. Under National Wind's community model, the profit structure may be even better if landowners take an ownership stake in a project company and share in the actual profits generated.

What if there is heavy flooding or drought next summer, and John is only able to harvest a fraction of expected yield? His revenue could drop to a level below his expenses. Maybe .....
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Kohl farm management webinar series

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

This winter I am working with Adult Farm Management instructors Dan Miller and Wayne Pike to offer a five-webinar series by Dr. David Kohl. The overall theme of the series will be positioning your business for sustainable success given the new econo ..... 
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Southwest Missouri Pet Supply Dealer to Pay $56,632 Penalty for Re-Labeling, Selling Misbranded Cattle and Hog Insecticide

Sat, Dec 26th, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

(Kansas City, Kan., December 21, 2009) - A southwest Missouri pet supply dealer has agreed to pay a $56,632 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations that it violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by re ..... 
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Quail habitat management meeting

Mon, Dec 21st, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

By Jerrold Tesmer,

County Extension Educator for Fillmore & Houston Counties

Are you interested in bobwhite quail? Have you ever considered managing your property to improve quail habitat? If you answered yes to these questions this Qu ..... 
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Boyum named "Cattlemen of the Year"

Fri, Dec 18th, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

Paul Boyum, of Utica, became the first beef producer from Fillmore County to receive the Cattleman of the Year recognition from the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association (MSCA) on December 5. Paul was presented this honor, as the engraving on the ..... 
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2010 Winter crops day

Fri, Dec 11th, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

The 2010 Winter Crops Day is the first of the winter educational meetings for 2010. I believe I have topics for at least my next nine news columns. I will be providing additional information on various events in those columns. Additional information ..... 
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Cool, wet fall poses challenges for land-application of manure

Tue, Dec 8th, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

October's cool, wet weather delayed more than the crop harvest. At some livestock farms, full manure basins created anxious moments for farmers awaiting harvested fields so they could land-apply manure. Fortunately, November's warmer, drier weather ..... 
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The EAB quarantine has not gone away

Fri, Dec 4th, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was discovered near Houston County earlier this year. At that time there was a tremendous amount of publicity, and a state quarantine that restricts the movement of firewood, ash trees, and ash tree products was implemented. ..... 
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Biel elected delegate to NFUC

Fri, Dec 4th, 2009
Posted in Agriculture

Eunice Biel of Harmony was elected to represent Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) at the National Convention in Rapid City, SD, March 14-16. There are four districts in the state, and Eunice will be representing the Southeast section of Minnesota. She w ..... 
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