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Wind turbines hurt rural economic development

Source: 
Clarinda Herald-Journal

Kim Brenneman, Parnell, Iowa

Iowa is an agricultural state that produces corn, beans, and livestock, and we feed the world. Our agricultural productivity is the engine of all Iowa communities and businesses.

Wind energy is not an agricultural commodity as hogs, cattle, and grain are. It is not a product that supports rural economic development. It does not revitalize communities, it damages them.

Around the world, industrial wind turbines have driven people away from homes due to their noise, flicker, and adverse health effects. Businesses flee or avoid communities that host wind, taking with it any chance of future growth. Homes and community businesses become devalued.

Raising livestock is a complete life cycle tied to many local businesses. Livestock is fed corn and soybeans, and manure is applied to fields to fertilize crops. Livestock feeds the crops and the crops feed the livestock. Each piece of that life cycle has local businesses tied to it. The wind industry does not create a life cycle of economic development.

Businesses in rural communities include feed mills, veterinarians, and livestock building contractors. Equipment manufacturers and repair businesses are necessary. Tractor and implement businesses sell and service field equipment. Grain infrastructure, feed mills, trucking, and manure hauling are all included in a realizable economic multiplier. Each of these businesses employs many members from their communities. The daily operations of grain and livestock production involve a large network of people. Agricultural dollars turn over in rural communities many times. The wind energy companies cannot say the same.

Farmers and people who live in rural areas understand agricultural practices and know that there are trade-offs. Sometimes there is the smell of manure, the sound of a grain bin in the fall, and a slow-moving vehicle on the road. Most Iowa farmers are kind and considerate to their neighbors when there are the expected annoyances of country living. They work to minimize the negative impacts that agricultural practices have on their neighbors.

Rural areas in Iowa are agricultural not industrial. Rural communities should not suffer from noise, shadow flicker, adverse health effects, and devalued homes because of wind turbines.

The wind is promoted as free, but the true costs of the wind industry in rural Iowa are not.

Is our goal as a state the elimination of rural communities and create a vast industrial scale, corporate ag-industrial mini-state?

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