As a landowner in Palo Alto County, I would like to reiterate some of the concerns voiced in the Supervisor Meeting, January 19, 2016, reference windmills in Palo Alto County. I have recently received information from two companies that have expressed interest in securing land for a wind project in Palo Alto County. I urge you to consider the concerns of farmers and respect the farmers that do not wish to participate in these windmill leases.
My father taught me to cherish our farmland and to be a steward of the fields. I am currently cash renting our farmland and continue to try and make the best choices for the well-being of the land. Here are a few of my concerns in hopes that this will provide the Palo Alto County Supervisors and the Palo Alto County Zoning Commission an opinion of one owner.
1. The installation of windmills and roads for access would change the content of the soil and effect crop yields. Because of extensive land moving and excavation the now fertile soil would be mixed with subsurface clay and compacted resulting in lower crop yields. I understand that the developer might compensate landowners for crop reductions, but my tenant farmer would suffer the actual loss. The roads to the windmills might cut across good farm land making one large field into a couple smaller fields. What if drainage tiles are damaged? Farming would have to be done around ponds or flooding that did not exist before. Not only would the soil be compromised, but the tillable acres would be diminished.
2. Impact of windmills on aerial spraying. The ability to secure aerial spraying services of farm production products, such as fertilizers and pesticides, would not be possible in areas where windmills are standing. As more wind farms are permitted, the cumulative effect will lead to fewer and fewer fields that can be sprayed, making crop loss a real possibility. Also, neighbor farmers who have no windmills and consequently no income from them, stand to lose aerial applications as well.
3. Duration of the easement. It is impossible to predict the financial viability of the developer or its successors for the time period of the easement. I cannot imagine signing away control of any part of my land and becoming a caretaker versus an owner. In the case of any legal proceeding, legal and attorney fees would be incurred by the landowner even if the windmill developer is liable.
4. Land valuation. There is evidence that windmills might detrimentally impact farmland values of our land and the land of our neighbors and friends.
I understand that alternative energy is important to the United States, Iowa, and Palo Alto County and I respectfully request sincere consideration of the farmers’ concerns.
(signed) Wanda J. (Wichman) Moore
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