Rural America keeps farming the wind

We recently reported on the ways wind power has become an economic powerhouse for rural America, leading some observers to call wind “the new corn.”

“One turbine has changed my life,” Ed Woolsey, a fifth-generation Iowa farmer told Bloomberg Government. “Before, I raised corn and soybeans and cattle. Now I don’t. I’m a wind farmer.”

Outlets across the U.S. have picked up on this story, with the latest installment coming from the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska.

“Wind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago,” the paper reported. “As commodity prices threaten to reach decade lows and farmers struggle to meet debt payments, wind has saved family farms across a wide swath of the heartland.”

This has meant all the difference to the men and women working to feed America.

“I’m surprised on days like today when it seems like there’s hardly any wind on the ground and they’re still turning,” said Steve Brockhaus, a Nebraska corn farmer. “I’d take turbines any day.”

In 2015 alone, farmers and ranchers received $222 million in lease payments for hosting turbines. For many of them, it meant the difference between continuing a multi-generation tradition and having to sell off their land.

Here are a few more firsthand accounts about how wind energy is helping to build a stronger rural America.

People are noticing the boost wind power gives rural communities.