Wisconsin Conservation Farmer of the Year Harvests Wind Energy

John Priske and his wife Dorothy, the owners and operators of Fountain Prairie Farm, a 280-acre beef farm powered by a 50-kilowatt wind turbine earlier this year, will be honored as Wisconsin Conservation Farmer of the Year.

Since acquiring their Columbia County property more than 20 years ago, the Priskes replaced a row-crop farm with a grass-based, organic beef operation, restored a 61-acre wetland, and erected a 140-foot wind turbine that will produce about 50 percent more energy than is needed to power the farm.

“We congratulate the Priskes for integrating renewable energy with sustainable agriculture,” said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide, nonprofit renewable energy advocacy organization. “To farmers who are conservation minded and value energy self-sufficiency, Fountain Prairie demonstrates how all of the elements of sustainability can be put together on one farm.”

Since the Endurance wind turbine became operational in the fall, it has produced more than 14,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, which is enough to supply the energy needs of two households for one year.

This is the second organic farm in Wisconsin hosting a turbine installed by Madison-based Seventh Generation Energy Systems. The other turbine has been serving Full Circle Farm, a grass-based dairy operation, near Seymour in Shawano County, since February 2009. Both installations were supported with grants from Focus on Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Renewable Energy in American Program (REAP).

The Priskes will receive the award at the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association’s annual conference to be held on December 9th and 10th in Wisconsin Dells.

RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance a sustainable energy future through public policy and private sector initiatives.