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Blowing in the Wind

  • Linda Platts

  • For generations, families who settles on the prairies and plains of the
    great mid-section of the United States have done battle with the wind. It has
    scoured their fields, flattened their crops, and sent icy fingers under the
    doorways of their homes. But what was once a bane has suddenly become a boon.
    Brokers are working their way across the Midwest and parts of West Texas
    offering cash for wind rights.

    Wind is the nation’s fastest-growing source of electricity and the capacity
    is expected to double within the next year. Utility companies are stepping on
    each other in their efforts to sign up farmers who are willing to plant a crop
    of sleek, 200-foot-tall turbines in their fields along with the usual corn and
    soybeans. In fact, some farmers have discovered that selling their wind rights
    is a whole lot more profitable than raising crops. And even better, they can
    sit on the front porch and watch the blades spin rather than hunker down over
    a tractor in the hot sun yet still put money in the bank.

    In Minnesota, farmers can earn about $2,000 a year per turbine, which
    takes up about one-eighth of an acre. Crops grown on the same fields clear
    about $40 an acre.

    New York Times

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