Today Iowa is excelling as one of the top states when it comes to agricultural production, and a leader in using its resources. Iowa has rankings in the top 5 states in the nation in 3 different categories of production. In the livestock category Iowa is ranked fourth in the nation in cattle and calves, fourth in sheep, goats, and their products, first in layers (chickens that lay eggs), and first in hogs and pigs. In the crops category Iowa is ranked first in corn for grain and first in soybean production. (NASS) And in the renewable energy category it ranks second in the amount of electricity produced for its wind turbines, first in the percentage of electricity, used annually, that comes from wind energy generation (10%), and first in the amount of ethanol produced ( 3‘549 million gallons per year). (“ 2009 Wind Industry Rankings”, U. S. Renewable Fuels Association) Iowa’s resources are beneficial to Iowa and its people.
With Iowa having top rankings in the nation in production areas, some people might be wondering if the production of grain, livestock, and energy is being done correctly and environmentally friendly? In the long run the answer is yes, but there are some valid arguments that can be made against production in these areas.
When it comes to wind energy, there are two main arguments made against wind turbines. One is that wind turbines kill birds. Wind turbines are man
made, tall structures that are usually a couple hundred feet tall, and they have a
giant propeller with huge blades. So they, consequently, are not natural to birds and therefore, do cause some bird deaths. The only area where there has been major problems with birds running into to them is Altamont Pass. (Jodziewicz) Altamont Pass, one of the first wind farms, “remains the only wind developed area in the U.S. that has experienced significant bird deaths, specifically those of raptors or birds of prey”, According to an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) facts sheet entitled “Wind Energy and Wildlife”. A two year study was done at Altamont Pass, which consists of 7’000 wind turbines, and 182 birds were found dead, most due to collision with the turbines and the rest due to electrocutions from power lines and collisions with wires. Other than Altamont Pass the average is about once every 8-15 years that a bird will collide with a wind machine. (HealthLink) These numbers are extremely low compared to other causes. According to the AWEA Wildlife facts sheet, each year 60-80 million bird death due to collisions with vehicles, 100 million to one billion due to collisions with buildings and towers, 175 million due to collisions with power lines, and one billion due to house cats. So in reality wind energy is responsible for only 3 out of every 100,000 bird death caused by human (and feline) activities. The other argument is that wind turbines are not appealing to human senses such as sight and hearing. The fact that wind turbines are...