They say we are a “dot” on a map.
Let me tell you about my dot.
My husband bought 120 acres of ground in 1970 after he graduated from high school. One of the reasons why my husband wanted this land is because it connects to his parent’s place and cows can easily be herded between the two tracts of land.
My husband and I were married in 1973. There was a 1-1/2 story house on this land when my husband bought it. We remodeled this house and turned it into our home. During the remodeling, we included a large picture window in the front of the house so that we can enjoy the beautiful view of the sky, trees and rolling hills from our living room. The proposed transmission line would be the prominent view from this window.
Currently, we have 60 cow-calf pairs on this land. The rule of thumb is 1.5 to 2 acres will support a cow-calf pair. Our herd is well within that ratio. A large, 40 foot deep pond that we built in 2000, waters this herd. This is the only source of water for our cows other than a creek that runs through the property, but in drought years, the creek is dry. Without the pond, the cows would have to walk a mile away to drink water. It takes weight off of cattle when they have to walk so far to water and loss of weight equals loss of income. Additionally, we often use the pond with our daughters when they come to visit for boating, swimming and fishing. The pond is stocked with catfish and is a great place to retreat and relax after a hard day.
One of the single shaft steel poles holding up the proposed transmission line is planned to be placed behind the pond’s dam, with the potential line hanging right across the water. The road to get to the pole would go directly over a concrete pad and waterer that we have situated behind our pond for the cows. It is terrifying to think of using the pond for watering cattle or for recreation with a 345,000 volt transmission line hanging over it! We only have 20 additional acres where our cattle can graze during construction of this potential line. How are we supposed to support 60 cow-calf pairs on 20 acres of pasture when that’s only enough ground to support 10-13 pairs? Is it right that we would have to sell our cattle or use up all of the feed we have stored for winter so that a power line can be built through our land?
Farming is our life. The land is part of the fabric of our family. This is where we work, play and relax. It is our inheritance and the inheritance we intend to pass on to our two daughters. It is our retirement. We have been farming for over 40 years and have added additional acres of land to our holdings along the way. Most of these tracts join the original 120 acres that my husband bought in 1970. It is on those sections of land that we grow soy beans, corn and hay to feed our livestock and to sell as a cash crop.
We will be farming and raising cattle until we pass on, at which time our daughters plan to continue as the fourth generation in our family to farm. Our oldest daughter wants to raise cattle while our youngest daughter wishes to plant crops. They have grown up helping us on the farm and know their way around machinery and animals. Farming and raising livestock is a good life. Why should our lives be turned upside down because of an unnecessary transmission line? It is appalling that a corporation is trying to maximize their profits off of the backs of farmers who have worked tirelessly for the lives that they love.