Farmers and John Deere dealers are looking to advanced wind turbines to meet a growing percentage of their energy needs and, according to a company report, they're starting to use windmills to generate all the power necessary for a few jobs on the farm.

"Whether for irrigation systems and grain dryers or equipment to raise hogs, cattle, or turkey, farmers use a lot of electricity," says Don Van Houweling, General Manager of The Van Wall Group, a Deere dealer with locations throughout central Iowa and the Kansas City area.

"That's why farmers and dealers are turning to wind energy: to achieve good ROI, hedge against volatile energy costs, and ensure the future of farm and country," says Van Houweling. "By harnessing a naturally renewable resource, we can limit rising input costs and our dependence on polluting, foreign fossil fuels."

Van Houweling estimates an annual 12% to 15% ROI for Midwest farmers and John Deere dealers who choose state-of-the-art wind turbine technology and take advantage of current federal, state, or local renewable energy incentives. He both uses wind turbines and is a dealer of them.

At his Perry, Iowa, dealership, for instance, Van Houweling has installed an S-Series wind turbine by Endurance Wind Power capable of producing up to 20,000 kWh per year, about 20% of the site's needed power; and a larger unit capable of producing over 200,000 kWh per year is scheduled to produce about 85% of the power needed at his upcoming west Des Moines, Iowa, site.

Return on investment

Renewable wind power aeration is also reviving rural pond water quality for livestock, eliminating the high cost of water hauling or electric aeration.

"Our windmill pond aerator paid us back in ten days and is saving us $30,000 a year by avoiding water hauling and energy costs," says Jim Barrett, owner of the Barrett Ranch in Venus, Florida. "We could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to our bottom line by keeping our herds healthy and preventing catastrophic loss with good water. We're expanding now."

Farmers like Barrett are saving their ponds and dugouts with bottom up-water aeration, which gives the water the strength to burn off the excess chemicals and pollutants that cause algae, weed growth and stagnation. The water becomes much clearer and cleaner when air, diffused into tiny bubbles and transported by tube, is continuously pumped to the bottom of a pond or dugout.