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To Build or Lease a Wind Farm… That is the Question

August 5, 2008

Des Moines, IA – Iowa farmers are faced with a choice when it comes to wind power: build their own wind turbines or lease their property to a developer who'll do it. There are legal issues and insurance issues to consider, besides the actual building of the turbine. To help landowners decide, a seminar will be held today in Malcom, east of Des Moines, sponsored by the Iowa Farmers Union.

Greg Heide is a Pomeroy-area farmer who is developing his own wind operation. He also has leased land for a large wind farm operated by Mid American Energy. He says many farmers are uninformed about what is and isn't a good deal.

"A lot of times, you get contacted by a wind developer, they show up with a contract written mostly in their favor, and there is not a lot of information that the farmer can get in a hurry in order to make an informed decision."

Heide says there is far more money to be made by owning your own wind turbine rather than leasing land to a developer.

"You probably are getting about one percent or so of the gross revenue that that wind turbine generates every year, so if you participate on the ownership side, the rewards are much better."

Heide says with predictions of 10,000 megawatts of wind power to be built in Iowa, a lot of farmers will eventually have to make these big decisions.

The seminar is at the Malcom auditorium at 7 p.m.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - IA