Today as you drive across the Midwest, especially Iowa (we’re third in the country for wind power), there are huge wind turbines dotting the fields. Where once each farmer had a windmill or maybe 2 to pump water, these giants generate electricity. You will see them in large clumps spread out across fields. The heads turn to catch the wind, but they don’t all turn at once.
These huge windmills you mostly see today are 1 megawatt, but there are bigger ones that are 2 megawatts. Each unit provides the farmer with $4000 a year and takes an acre of land. If the sweep of the arms crosses property lines, the money must be split. One factory that produces the windmills is here in Cedar Rapids and you will sometimes see one arm of a windmill go buy, longer than a normal semi truck trailer.
If you are taking the normal Laura route between Walnut Grove and De Smet, you will get an excellent view of the wind farms located near highway around Lake Benton.
Find more about these giant windmills including books about it and interesting video footage:
UPDATE October 31, 2015: I broke the body into a few more paragraphs and enlarged the photo. I also added a link and my current signature block.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.