Do you hear the sound keeps my kids awake
In fields where peace used to reign?
Notice the horizon, the obstructed view
All I see are those blades
The turning and whirling, the deafening sound
Killin’ the birds, spoiling the ground around me
The shadow it flickers on the walls and the pictures
An Iowa farmer has been taken by charmers
Maybe it’s time to put up a sign
I’m an just Iowa farmer who was taken by charmers
—Steve Pichan 2019
Singer/songwriter Steve Pichan and his wife often travel through mid-Michigan where massive windfarms have sprouted over the past few years. It wasn’t long ago when the farms were in limited concentrated areas, but with each trip to the North Country, Steve noticed more and more turbines, first dotting the skyline and then suddenly polluting the once pristine horizons.
That observation got Pichan to wondering whether or not there were farmers who weren’t thrilled with the towering giants right behind barns and ominously rising above homes and fields. A little internet research was all it took for him to learn what farmers and others already knew; wind turbines aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Common problems with them involves the thousands of bats and eagles killed by the rotating blades and an effect known as “shadow flicker”, caused when rotating wind turbine blades cast shadows through constrained openings such as windows and neighboring properties. Occasionally turbines catch on fire and, due to the average height, most fire departments aren’t able to properly extinguish. Property values also take hits when windfarms are nearby. Such examples are just a few of the many complaints Pichan discovered.
So, off to the northern Michigan with guitar in the trunk, Pichan set off to put his thoughts and discoveries into song, one empathizing with the plight of a fictitious farmer in Iowa who lives under the shade of multiple turbines. The farmer knows he got a bum rap when he sold out land to energy corporations that could care less about his scarred land and access roads that once provided fertile soil for profitable crops.
“Iowa Farmer” was written, according to Pichan, to shine a light on the windfarm debacle through art and expose this concerning issue often ignored by media and those profiting from the destruction of once peaceful farms.