E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


American Corn Growers co-sponsor global wind energy conference, promote year-round renewable energy crop

(Sunday, March 28, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release:

Contact: Dan McGuire (402) 770-5237
Keith Bolin (815) 878-3975

CHICAGO -- As the 2004 corn crop is about to be planted in Illinois, farmers are looking at another new crop that can be harvested around the clock, year round. Wind energy offers a new income stream for farmers and major economic development opportunities for rural communities.

"As members of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) and the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) are pleased to be a major sponsor of the Global WINDPOWER 2004 Conference and Exhibition in Chicago," says Dan McGuire, CEO of the ACGF. "Our Wealth From The Wind educational program delivers wind energy information to rural America and we can’t imagine a better location for this conference than right here in Chicago, the windy city, and in Illinois, the heart of corn country."

"Getting information to farmers and rural leaders is essential and this AWEA conference provides a tremendous opportunity," said McGuire. "Our agricultural outreach work is partially underwritten by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Energy Foundation and the Wind Powering America program of the U.S. Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We thank all of them for their support and salute AWEA for its vision and industry leadership."

Keith Bolin, ACGA vice president from Manlius, Ill., and a school board member of the Bureau Valley High School District, is attending Global WINDPOWER 2004. Bolin is leading the effort for the district to buy its own wind turbine. "Our wind project could mean as much as $100,000 a year in energy savings, so wind power will help us help our kids as we save that money and put it into education where it belongs," said Bolin. "The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) has provided a $331,000 grant to the school district toward the estimated $1 million turbine cost. The ICECF has helped us get this project going and we’re currently looking for additional grant funding to make this exciting opportunity a reality."

The National Conference of State Legislatures says the largest source of local revenue from wind farms is property taxes, and the biggest beneficiary of this revenue is usually school districts. Farmers and landowners can invest in owning wind turbines through coops and limited liability corporations, or they can lease their land to developers for an annual lease payment.

"Corn prices are relatively strong now but normal world production can drive them back into the tank," says McGuire. "We have to look at long term alternatives for rural America. Wind turbines are like a combine running at about 200 feet in the air, harvesting clean, renewable energy around the clock. The economic benefits to schools, states and this country make it a wind-win-win."

As the Global WINDPOWER 2004 Conference is underway in Chicago, the American Corn Growers Association, with the Alliance For Rural America (ARA) is conducting its Sixth Rural Energy Issues Conference in Washington, D.C. this week. "The ACGA, ARA and the American Agricultural Wind Coalition (AAWC) are promoting key energy issues on Capitol Hill, including extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC)," said Larry Mitchell, CEO of the ACGA. "Rural America needs a comprehensive energy policy and Congress needs to get that wind PTC extended so the U.S. wind industry’s boom-and-bust cycle is a thing of the past."