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Corn farmer survey shows very strong support for wind energy incentives

(Monday, June 14, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From an ACGF news release:
Contact: Dan McGuire (402) 489-1346 or Gale Lush (308) 478-5562
RMA Research, Inc. contact: Jim Robinson (605) 332-7002

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2004óA just-completed national survey of corn producers, conducted by RMA Research, Inc. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) found a strong, majority level of support among farmers on a range of critical issues related to the future growth of the U.S. wind industry. The ACGF Wealth From The Wind survey, funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was completed on June 10, 2004. Five hundred farmers were polled in sixteen top corn-producing states with over 90 percent of 2004 planted corn acreage based on USDA data. The random, scientific, statistically valid survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Farmers surveyed had at least one hundred acres of corn. The eight major corn states of Iowa, Ill., Neb., Minn., Ind., S.D., Ohio and Wisc. accounted for eighty-four percent of the farmers polled and the acreage. Iowa had the largest number of farmers surveyed.

Dan McGuire, CEO of the ACGF said, "U.S. corn farmers are unified to the tune of seventy, eighty or ninety percent on the essential federal and state wind energy policies needed to realize the tremendous community-based renewable energy and rural economic development potential that wind energy offers." The survey shows that:

  • Ninety percent of corn farmers support the development of wind energy
  • Eighty-nine percent want the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass the same wind energy production tax credit extension as the U.S. Senate in order to encourage new wind energy projects.
  • Seventy-two percent want a mandatory funding level of $23 million or greater in the Energy Title (Section 9006) of the farm law in the 2005 Bush Administration budget for the purpose of grants and loans to farmers, ranchers and rural America to purchase renewable energy systems.
  • Eighty-nine percent want farmers, industry and public institutions to promote wind as alternative energy.
  • Eighty-one percent are more inclined to invest in wind energy because it helps clean the environment.
  • Seventy-seven percent want farmers to be offered financial incentives such as production tax credits through government programs to encourage wind energy development.
  • Seventy-seven percent want Congress and the Administration to make a major commitment to the promotion of wind energy and seventy-nine percent want them to encourage new transmission capacity.
  • Eighty-eight percent want other state legislatures to follow the Minnesota wind incentive model.
  • Eighty-five percent want rural electric cooperatives to support and promote wind energy.
  • Eighty-five percent want rural electric coops to follow the law, the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) in accordance with the November 2003 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruling that ordered a rural electric coop to connect a farmer-owned wind turbine to the electric grid.
  • Eighty-two percent agree that farmers, landowners and investors should be able to sell electricity from wind turbines to public power districts. They agree that public power districts should be required to purchase electric power from farmer-owned wind farms.

Gale Lush, ACGF chairman from Wilcox, Neb. said, "Eighty-two percent in a Nebraska-specific question agree that the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), as a publicly-owned electric power reseller, distributor and provider should be required to purchase electricity from farmer-owned Nebraska wind farms. Thatís great since Nebraska is the only totally public power state in the country. Ninety percent in Nebraska want rural electric cooperatives to work with farmers by facilitating wind turbine connection to their power grid. Nebraska has the sixth largest wind resource in the U.S. so it is time for Nebraska to move ahead at the state level and capture this great opportunity. The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) is keeping national policy makers informed on wind energy issues." Both the ACGF and ACGA websites have posted the complete survey results and marginal reports at http://acgf.org/ and http://acga.org/ .

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RMA Research
Survey Marginals

Hello, this is ____________, and Iím calling from RMA Research, a national public opinion research firm. We are conducting a brief national survey for the American Corn Growers Foundation on Wind Energy. Let me stress that we are not selling anything and are only interested in your opinions on these issues

Gender [DO NOT ASK]
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
69.8% Male
30.2% Female

How many total acres did you or will you plant in corn this year? (Total corn acres in 2004)
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
2.0% 0
2.2% 1-99
19.2% 100-150
13.0% 151-200
19.6% 201-300
12.8% 301-400
8.2% 401-500
3.8% 501-600
3.4% 601-700
4.4% 701-800
0.8% 801-900
3.0% 901-1000
4.8% 1001 or more
2.8% Refused
398.4 MEAN

Text: The farm law that was passed in 2002 included an Energy Title for the first time. That program provided 23 million dollars in mandatory in loans and grants to farmers, ranchers, and small rural business for the purpose of purchasing renewable energy systems, including wind turbines in 2003 and 2004. However, the Bush administrationís 2005 budget proposes cutting funds for the Energy Title by $12 million and changes the remaining $11 million to discretionary spending. Which means the administration could decide not to make the money available to farmers at all.

Do you support continuing at least the original $23 million amount or a greater level of mandatory funding for farmers, ranchers and rural America for the purposes of loans and grants to purchase renewable energy systems?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
72.2% Yes
15.0% No
12.8% [Don't Read] Don't Know
[Don't Read] Refused

Do you support the development of wind energy?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
89.6% Yes
6.4% No
4.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know [Don't Read] Refused

Would you be willing to invest in wind power projects? 500 TOTAL ANSWERING 33.6% Yes 44.2% No 22.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know 0.2% [Don't Read] Refused

Which of the following do you believe is the best way for farmers to reap the financial rewards from wind power?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
35.0% By leasing a small portion of their farm to a power generator for the placement of wind turbines.
29.8% By investing in a farmer-owned wind power co-operative.
12.0% By purchasing a small wind turbine for your own individual on-farm use.
9.6% By owning and placing large scale wind turbines on your own land.
12.8% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.8% [Don't Read] Refused

Do you believe that wind energy can provide additional farm income to your farming operation?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
65.0% Yes
24.2% No
10.8% [Don't Read] Don't Know
[Don't Read] Refused

Should farmers, industry and public institutions promote wind power as an alternative energy source? 500 TOTAL ANSWERING
89.0% Yes
6.0% No
5.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know
[Don't Read] Refused

Would you be more inclined to invest in wind energy because it produces non-harmful emissions and helps to clean the environment?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
80.8% Yes
13.2% No
5.8% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.2% [Don't Read] Refused

Should farmers be offered financial incentives such as production tax credits through government programs as one way to encourage wind energy development?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
77.4% Yes
14.8% No
7.4% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.4% [Don't Read] Refused

With energy prices at very high levels and given the need for the country to become more energy independent for national security reasons, do you believe the Congress and the Administration in Washington, DC should make a major commitment toward the promotion of wind energy?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
76.8% Yes
12.8% No
10.4% [Don't Read] Don't Know
[Don't Read] Refused

In addition to the federal production tax credits for wind energy, the Minnesota legislature put a state-level incentive in place to encourage the development of wind energy power. As a result Minnesota has greatly expanded its number of wind farms. Should other state legislatures follow Minnesota's lead and pass similar wind power incentives?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
81.2% Yes
7.4% No
11.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.4% [Don't Read] Refused

Do you agree or disagree that rural electric co-operatives should help support and promote wind energy?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
84.8% Agree
7.2% Disagree
7.6% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.4% [Don't Read] Refused

Members of Congress from the Midwest and other regions are pushing for federal action to encourage the upgrading of existing and the construction of new electric transmission lines as a "farm-to-market" road to better market the power generated from wind turbines and wind farms in rural areas. The American Corn Growers Association has endorsed this action and told Congress that new transmission lines are desperately needed in rural America. Do you agree or disagree that Congress and the federal government should move ahead quickly to encourage new transmission capacity as a way to move electric power from wind farms to consumer markets?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
79.0% Agree
8.8% Disagree
12.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.2% [Don't Read] Refused

States with laws requiring utility companies to accept electricity from wind turbines onto the power grid are seeing more successful wind power development. Do you agree or disagree that electric utility companies should be required to accept electricity generated by wind farms as part of their power generation mix?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
86.2% Agree
7.4% Disagree
6.2% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.2% [Don't Read] Refused

In November of 2003 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered a rural electric coop to abide by the law and follow the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act by connecting a farmer-owned wind turbine to the electric grid. Do you agree or disagree that Rural Electric Coops should not just follow the law but also work in a positive way with farmers to purchase their wind generated power by facilitating wind turbine connection to their power grid?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
85.4% Agree
6.2% Disagree
8.2% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.2% [Don't Read] Refused

Many urban and rural consumers buy their electricity from public power districts. Most of that power comes from coal, natural gas, or nuclear-powered generation plants purchased out of state. Do you agree or disagree that farmers, landowners and investors should be able to sell electricity from wind turbines to public power districts and that public power districts should be required to purchase that electric power from farmer-owned wind farms?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
82.4% Agree
8.4% Disagree
8.6% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.6% [Don't Read] Refused

[ASK ONLY OF RESPONDENTS FROM NEBRASKA]
Do you agree or disagree that the Nebraska Public Power District, as a publicly-owned electric power reseller, distributor and provider, should be required to purchase electricity from farmer-owned Nebraska wind farms?
60 Base: Nebraska only
81.7% Agree
8.3% Disagree
10.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know
[Don't Read] Refused

The U.S. Senate recently passed legislation which extended the wind energy production tax credit (incentive) until 2007. Do you agree or disagree that the U.S. House of Representatives should quickly follow the Senate's lead and pass the same wind energy production tax credit for at least three years so as to encourage new wind energy projects?
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
88.6% Agree
3.8% Disagree
7.0% [Don't Read] Don't Know
0.6% [Don't Read] Refused
Q State
500 TOTAL ANSWERING
1.4% CO
19.8% IL
7.8% IN
20.4% IA
3.4% KS
1.6% KY
2.6% MI
10.0% MN
3.2% MO
12.0% NE
1.4% ND
5.2% OH
1.2% PA
4.4% SD
1.6% TX
4.0% WI