Fourth Generation Family Farmer Looks to Renewable Energy

By Vern Jantzen, a fourth generation family farmer from Nebraska. 
As a 4th generation family farmer, I am interested in making my operation and community as sustainable as possible. Renewable energy not only allows farmers to generate electricity on site that they need to farm and reduce costs, but wind farms and solar installations can provide a big boost to small town economies. They can provide a reason for new families to move to town, and help long-time residents working in small businesses, grocery stores, clinics, law and accounting firms and trades to stay put.

Nebraska ranks 4th in the nation for wind energy potential, and thirteenth for solar power potential. We have enough of each of these renewable resources that in theory, each one could provide all the electricity the state needs. This is significant for the state, but especially for rural communities. A standard size, 80 megawatt wind farm, with somewhere around 40 turbines, generates $50.14 million in spending in the local community economy, $6.3 million in nameplate capacity taxes (in lieu of personal property taxes) and $4.8 million in land lease payments to local landowners.  

Nebraska’s farmers should be concerned about the fossil-fuel fired electricity we purchase to power our operations, and at the same time look to renewable energy on our farms and across the state to move us into the future. In a public power state, you and I can have a say, and there is no good reason to not be investing in renewable energy for ourselves and our communities.

Vern Jantzen,Plymouth, NE