Elected officials shouldn’t neglect talking with farmers about wind energy project

Posted 31 August 2016 at 10:48 pm


I am disappointed to hear the rhetoric and misinformed claims of the people that I thought were my elected representatives: Senator Robert Ortt, Legislator John Syracuse, and Supervisor Dan Engert.

Reading the newspaper accounts of their support for the anti-wind group that has set up shop in our town, I wonder how they could have driven to last Thursday evening’s event  sponsored by Save Ontario Shores (SOS) without seeing the many signs of support on the agricultural lands being worked by us, the farmers.

Did they stop at any of these farms? No, they drove right past. That’s when I realized that it’s not about the farms. They are just fields that these politicians pass by, they cannot vote.

I guess I shouldn’t be at all surprised they didn’t stop to talk to us. Not a single one of my elected officials has ever initiated contact with me about the project, and, as far as I know, they haven’t initiated contact with any of the other larger land owners in the project area either.

I guess those people who are supposed to represent us have done the math. Given the acreage of land that we work and size of the families, it’s clear that the agricultural community does not have enough votes to count or even warrant stopping by for a discussion. This is despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the land owners are supportive of the project, based on the amount of acres that are presently under lease by Lighthouse Wind.

We have been the rural backbone of this town for generations, and those close to the business know that we don’t want this to disappear. That’s one of the reasons we choose to diversify and to host wind energy projects. These projects not only provide us with an opportunity to improve our agricultural business, but also allow us to participate in advancing renewable energy to help improve our environment and provide new revenue sources for our community.

We have contributed to the history of this town, and we want to make sure it has a thriving future. Senator Ortt, Legislator Syracuse, Supervisor Engert, and any other of my local elected officials, my door is open if you want to stop in.

Please don’t just pass me and my fellow agricultural community by. I may be working the farm, but I can make time for you.

Ben Atwater

Atwater Farms

Town of Somerset