Just the facts…
The Ontario Farm Association has this slogan on their website to explain the connection between Ontario farmers and the wind industry: Ontario needs power and farmers need money.
Now, in the most recent issue of Ontario Farmer (sorry, it’s not available online) is “Guarantee food, not wind,” a letter by Dan Wrightman of Kerwood. He writes “it is common to hear the government line that wind energy is a solution to the income crisis that agriculture faces here in Ontario.” He goes on to list five reasons why wind energy “is a poor income support program for farmers and a bad idea for the agricultural economy of rural Ontario.”
1. Wind energy development is based on geography rather than need. In other words, some of the richest farmers will get wind developments (as in North Gower, where one of the participating farm owners has over 3,000 acres of land locally) while the poorer farms won’t.
2. The lease payments are not as significant as they might seem. Typically $6,000-$8,000 per year per turbine, Wrightman says that’s “a drop in the bucket.” What’s to blame is Ontario’s “cheap food policy.”
3.Wind development will encourage absentee land ownership, which will lead to a decline in agricultural productivity over the long term.
4.The potential for health effects (resulting from the noise and vibration produced by industrial wind turbines) could lead to fewer people being willing to farm. There are already reports of farmers having to leave their homes because of “health issues attributed to wind turbines … there are already lawsuits filed against wind energy companies by farmers claiming that wind turbines have severely affected the health of their livestock.”
5. Farmers who just want to grow food are forgotten. “The Ontario government is willing to give guaranteed above-market prices for 20 years to wind companies, yet there is no money to fund a risk management program that works. Farmers need government to support Ontario-grown and processed food, not give billions of taxpayer subsidies to foreign corporations.”