In the Flint Hills of Kansas, Pete Ferrell owns the 7,000-acre ranch that his great-grandfather established 135 years ago.

He says income from oil production on the land helped save the family’s ranch during a drought in the 1950s.

Now wind energy is helping Ferrell sustain the business when times are tough.

Ferrell: “I always say that wind farming is my best cash crop because the wind blows even during a drought.”

Ferrell was first approached by a wind developer in the 1990s. He was initially skeptical.

Ferrell: “Quite frankly, my first response was, ‘No, we’re not doing that at all.’”

But after talking to other ranchers who had successfully integrated the turbines with their businesses, he felt confident moving forward.

He leased land to the Elk River Wind Farm, which opened in 2005.

He says the 50 turbines on his land cause no problems for his cows or the prairies they graze on.

Ferrell: “We’ve had virtually no interference between our ranching operation and the wind farm operation whatsoever.”

He says he’s grateful for the income that the wind turbines provide — and happy to help accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy.

Reporting Credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media