Corn farmer survey shows strong support for wind energy

WASHINGTON, DC, June 14, 2004, Crop Choice: A just-completed national survey of corn producers, conducted by RMA Research, Inc. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) found a strong, majority level of support among farmers on a range of critical issues related to the future growth of the U.S. wind industry. The ACGF Wealth From The Wind survey, funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was completed on June 10, 2004. Five hundred farmers were polled in sixteen top corn-producing states with over 90 percent of 2004 planted corn acreage based on USDA data. The random, scientific, statistically valid survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Farmers surveyed had at least one hundred acres of corn. The eight major corn states of Iowa, Ill., Neb., Minn., Ind., S.D., Ohio and Wisc. accounted for eighty-four percent of the farmers polled and the acreage. Iowa had the largest number of farmers surveyed.

Dan McGuire, CEO of the ACGF said, "U.S. corn farmers are unified to the tune of seventy, eighty or ninety percent on the essential federal and state wind energy policies needed to realize the tremendous community-based renewable energy and rural economic development potential that wind energy offers." The survey shows that:

  • Ninety percent of corn farmers support the development of wind energy
  • Eighty-nine percent want the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass the same wind energy production tax credit extension as the U.S. Senate in order to encourage new wind energy projects.
  • Seventy-two percent want a mandatory funding level of $23 million or greater in the Energy Title (Section 9006) of the farm law in the 2005 Bush Administration budget for the purpose of grants and loans to farmers, ranchers and rural America to purchase renewable energy systems.
  • Eighty-nine percent want farmers, industry and public institutions to promote wind as alternative energy.
  • Eighty-one percent are more inclined to invest in wind energy because it helps clean the environment.
  • Seventy-seven percent want farmers to be offered financial incentives such as production tax credits through government programs to encourage wind energy development.
  • Seventy-seven percent want Congress and the Administration to make a major commitment to the promotion of wind energy and seventy-nine percent want them to encourage new transmission capacity.
  • Eighty-eight percent want other state legislatures to follow the Minnesota wind incentive model.
  • Eighty-five percent want rural electric cooperatives to support and promote wind energy.
  • Eighty-five percent want rural electric coops to follow the law, the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) in accordance with the November 2003 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruling that ordered a rural electric coop to connect a farmer-owned wind turbine to the electric grid.
  • Eighty-two percent agree that farmers, landowners and investors should be able to sell electricity from wind turbines to public power districts. They agree that public power districts should be required to purchase electric power from farmer-owned wind farms.

Gale Lush, ACGF chairman from Wilcox, Neb. said, "Eighty-two percent in a Nebraska-specific question agree that the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), as a publicly-owned electric power reseller, distributor and provider should be required to purchase electricity from farmer-owned Nebraska wind farms. That’s great since Nebraska is the only totally public power state in the country. Ninety percent in Nebraska want rural electric cooperatives to work with farmers by facilitating wind turbine connection to their power grid. Nebraska has the sixth largest wind resource in the U.S. so it is time for Nebraska to move ahead at the state level and capture this great opportunity. The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) is keeping national policy makers informed on wind energy issues." Both the ACGF and ACGA websites have posted the complete survey results and marginal reports at http://acgf.org/ and http://acga.org/ .


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