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American Corn Growers Foundation launches wind power education project with W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant

(Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- From a news release.

Contact: Dan McGuire, 402-489-1346

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb. 6, 2003---The American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF), through its Wealth From The Wind program, has begun a project aimed at developing the economic and environmental potential of wind power generation to benefit small and mid-sized farmers, the people living in rural communities and American society overall.

The project is funded by a two-year $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan and continues throughout calendar years 2003 and 2004.

"Wind power generation offers tremendous potential for developing sustainable and environmentally sound alternative income streams for farmers and the rural communities that rely on farm income," said Dan McGuire, program director of the ACGF. "Given the ongoing trend of low grain and oilseed prices and efforts in Washington, DC to cut back on spending commitments made in the 2002 farm law, it is essential that farmers and rural communities pursue and develop new means to sustain their local economies."

Efforts will focus on evaluating the level of agricultural interest and knowledge of wind power generation by carrying out a new national farmer survey. A national wind resource guide will provide farmers information on wind development and a series of workshops will be hosted along with participation at national farm organization conventions as a means to promote the benefits of wind power generation. A small wind systems guide will be developed for farmers and rural citizens interested in wind power for individual farm and rural use. The implementation of the renewable energy titles and incentives in the 2002 farm law will be monitored, with farm and rural leaders updated on its progress. The ACGF has a successful track record of carrying out educational and informational programs on a number of issues that impact farmers and the rural economy. The ACGF works closely with the American Corn Growers Association (ACGA), their national membership, and with coalitions of other farm, commodity and rural interest groups.

"This expanded educational effort was immediately launched in January with workshops held in South Carolina and Kentucky," explained McGuire. The American Corn Growers Association’s (ACGA) national convention on January 31st in Charleston, SC included a Wind Energy Roundtable where the ACGF presented information along with Doug Coats, Manager of Development for Renewable Energy Systems (RES). Mr. Coats made a comprehensive presentation on the issues and opportunities involved in wind farm development and provided literature pointing out that RES is one of the leading and broadest based companies in the wind energy industry. Since 1980, RES has played a central role in the development of the wind energy market, both in Europe and more recently in the United States. The largest component of RES business is in wind farm development. The panel originally included wind project developer Dan Juhl of DanMar, Associates from Pipestone, MN who was featured at the 2002 ACGA convention. Mr. Juhl was unable to participate this year as his company began installing equipment for two new wind farms in Minnesota during the ACGA convention. The Wealth From The Wind program also uses Mr. Juhl’s experience as a wind farm developer and resource in developing wind power information for promoting wind power generation in America.

"On January 18th wind energy education and promotion was included as an important part of an ACGF-ACGA panel presentation on "Bringing the Food Economy Home" which was held in Lexington, KY at the 18th annual meeting of the Community Farm Alliance (CFA)," added McGuire. "As with the ACGA convention, the CFA annual meeting was a great opportunity to ‘power up’ our educational effort by distributing our Wealth From The Wind literature along with a Small Wind Electric Systems brochure provided by the Wind Powering America program of the U.S. Department of Energy. These meetings were just the beginning of an exciting, expanded educational and promotional campaign to make wind power generation grow for the benefit of farmers, rural citizens and their communities and for our American society as a whole."

The American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) is a nonprofit foundation that was formed in 1987 and is dedicated to meeting the needs of America’s agricultural producers and rural citizens through the development of educational and informational programs. The ACGF works closely with the American Corn Growers Association as well as other foundations, governmental agencies, farm, commodity, rural and community-based organizations in carrying out its educational and informational programs.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth, accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.

To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: Health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to the cross-cutting themes of leadership; information and communication technology, capitalizing on diversity, and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.