Farmland prices rise in renewable energy boom


A portion of the World's largest windfarm. 259 wind turbines over 200 feet tall located in Cherokee and Buena Vista Counties in Northwestern Iowa. Together they produce 192,750 kW of energy. According to recent reports, Iowa gets generates about 15 percent of its energy from wind. Photo by Jim Hammer, Wikimedia Commons

This work by Midwest Energy News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

By Kevin Dobbs

Midwest farmers – and the land on which they rely – have prospered in recent years, even as the U.S. endured a financial crisis and economic recession.

And for better or worse, agriculture has built its good health on the fortunes of energy.

While rising global demand for food — particularly from densely populated and growing countries such as India — gets a chunk of the credit, this newfound prosperity is closely linked to the United States government’s backing of corn-based ethanol. Farm incomes and farmland values have surged as the ethanol industry emerged and then swelled in the past decade, creating a new form of steady demand for corn and hastening the rise in value of the soil in which it grows. Continue reading