Farm Talk

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January 12, 2010

Homeier adds value by growing energy on his Ellsworth Co. farm

Agriculture is known as a family tradition and Gordon Homeier, a farmer in Ellsworth, Kansas, is no exception to this tradition farming 7,000 acres with his son, Michael. However, Homeier is not afraid of risks or new ideas in finding ways to make farming profitable.

“I like to like to think of myself as progressive-aggressive and someone who thinks outside of the box,” said Homeier.

Although Homeier farms differently than his father, he does use similar concepts used by his ancestors, as he is part of a The Smoky Hills Wind Project. In the 1880s Homeier’s great grandparents used a windmill to pump water from the well and another windmill to produce energy.

“I have always had an interest in wind energy,” he said. “I started doing some research and going and looking at different wind farms when I was on trips buying cattle or just out driving. It wasn’t until I went to northern Iowa when I really became interested. I met a lady who was a landowner in a wind farm in Iowa and she gave a book of information for me to look through and then mail back to her.”

After gathering more information he went to the economic developer for Ellsworth County to discuss the idea of a commercial wind farm. When investors came to discuss the idea to the community there is no surprise Homeier was interested in being part of the project.

The Smoky Hills Wind Project is in both Ellsworth and Lincoln Counties in Kansas with the largest amount of turbines in Lincoln County. This project contains 20,000 acres of land and stretches across 22 miles, with the involvement of 100 landowners. There are 155 turbines between the two phases of the project. According to Homeier, the Smoky Hills Wind Project is a 250 megawatt farm. Out of the landowners, Homeier is one of three who have the most land involved in the project. Not only does he have 1,500 acres in the project, Homeier plays a bigger part as his land contains a power line which connects directly into the grid, he mentioned.

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