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Dairy farmer hopes there’s still time to pull the plug

Paul Morden — Chatham Daily News — August 5, 2013

Darryl De Groot says it’s gotten to the point that farmers have stopped waving to each other on Northville Road.

And that’s just one impact the dairy farmer sees that Ontario’s Green Energy Act, and Nextera’s proposed Jericho wind energy project, is having on rural Lambton Shores.

“Country life out here, it’s not like it once was,” De Groot said.

Florida-based Nextera is planning to build a 92-turbine wind farm in Lambton Shores and neighbouring Warwick Township, and the community has divided between farmers who signed leases, allowing the wind companies to build turbines on their land, and those who didn’t, De Groot said.

When the land agents came around in 2008, he and his father took a look at what they were offering, and turned them down.

“Dad said, ‘You know what, anything to do with the government that is 50 pages long, don’t sign it.'”

But other farmers did, including some of De Groot’s neighbours.

Nextera received a contract to sell power to Ontario, and is in the final stages of securing provincial environmental approval to move ahead with its project.

“Farmers aren’t waving at each other on the roads any more,” De Groot said.

“It’s sad . . . it should have been done a different way. It shouldn’t have been pushed on us.”

De Groot grew up on the farm near the small community of Arkona, went to agricultural college, married and has a one-year-old child he still hopes will be the fourth generation of the family to farm on Northville Road.

Today, De Groot and his father milk 80 cows and grow grain to feed them, along with a little extra to sell as cash crops.

“We choose to live out here, out from the city,” he said.

“It’s beautiful, and now they’re totally going to destroy our landscape. I can’t figure it out.”

He said Nextera’s maps show plans for turbines all around the farm, including some less than 1,000 metres from the dairy barn, and his house.

He said he’s worried about the impact on his family’s health, and on the cows providing his livelihood.

“My biggest concern is electrical pollution from these turbines,” he said.  Continue reading, here….. 

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