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Why Does Ag Equipment Company Get Involved in Wind Industry? Benefits

Why Does Ag Equipment Company Get Involved in Wind Industry? Benefits

Date: 11/19/2008

Source: Stacia Cudd, National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service

Audio with Dave Drescher, John Deere Wind Energy Vice President (MP3 2.6 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:02:49.

Recognizing how investments in wind energy benefit rural America and the world — John Deere got involved. Vice President of John Deere Wind Energy Dave Drescher explains the decision to enter the wind business.

"John Deere very deliberately researched the market as part of an ongoing effort for new business opportunities, which provide quality growth opportunities that are connected to the core Deere business. And this business also contributes to Deere's sustainability goals, but it helps our core customers gain value from their land and enables economic development in rural communities."

As a result, Drescher says wind has become one of the most rewarding parts of John Deere's business. Just consider Dumas, Texas, where Drescher recently returned from a commemoration for small distributed wind projects.

"This is ranchland, this is an area with center pivot irrigation and it's not the most productive land. So adding another source of revenue for farms and resultant tax base for the community has increased the productivity of those investments that the ranchers and farmers down there have made. But the community will really benefit. For instance, over the course of the next several years it will drive millions of dollars to the school system and the county to help with infrastructure, hospitals, roads and other benefits."

Benefits like job creation.

"When we build a wind farm, the construction jobs, for instance in the project I mentioned in Texas, these were small projects, about 50 megawatts, but a hundred jobs resulted from that during that period of time. And then there will be, in the community, jobs for technicians to service those wind turbines. Really benefit these communities; people stay in the communities, they can work in the wind industry, maintaining machines and making a good living in the process."

In fact, those technical jobs are so promising, Drescher notes wind turbine technician training programs are springing up throughout the U.S.

Then there are the bigger picture environmental and energy security benefits. Drescher says water is a great example of the environmental benefits.

"Many people don't fully appreciate the amount of water that's used in fossil energy production, primarily in the cooling systems. And of course, ag is a major user of fresh water and it is very important that our customers have access to water for all of their needs in terms of ranching or farming or whatever form of irrigation they use. Our wind farms alone save over 840-million gallons of water. If you scale that industry-wide it's billions of gallons of water being saved through the production of wind energy."

According to Drescher, John Deere Wind Energy has about 700 megawatts of wind farms that will be in production by the end of 2009. That's enough to power more than 40-thousand homes.

This information was last updated on November 19, 2008