Election 2020 Greenfield tours local ag, energy sites
By DOUGLAS BURNS
Through her COVID-19-thwarting mask, Theresa Greenfield took the measure of a hulking Greene County wind-energy turbine just feet from her Saturday morning. She later got to hit the switch turning the blades off and on.
“Can you see me smiling,” Greenfield said from behind a black mask at the Junction Hilltop wind farm in Dana, north of Jefferson in a wind-energy-friendly slice of Greene County that also features MidAmerican renewable energy power towers.
Greenfield, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak, toured Junction Hilltop, a five-turbine farm that started generating power in 2012 and is co-managed by Tom Wind, a Greene County ag businessman and well-known voice in the state for wind energy.
“We struck our neck out and crossed our fingers and it worked out,” Wind said, noting that the project has nine investors.
“I just have a real love for small towns,” Greenfield told Wind.
Greenfield, a native of a southern Minnesota farm who is now a Des Moines businesswoman, said the health of the wind energy industry is central in Iowa’s economy.
She went through the farm crisis of the 1980s as a girl in Bricelyn, Minn. (population today of 369), and knows the value of boosting commodity prices and creating other income on the farm, she said.
“I watched the hollowing out of all those lovely communities,” Greenfield said.
The Senate candidate also attended Iowa Lakes Community College, known for its nationally regarded wind-energy program.
Later Saturday, as she surveyed Greene County conservation crop-share farmer Chris Henning’s rye cover crop, Greenfield said she’s heard from small business people who say revenue is down well over 60 percent.
“It’s certainly COVID, but it’s also the farm economy,” Greenfield said.
Standing outside of her farmhouse south of Jefferson, Henning, chair of the Greene County Democratic Party and a candidate for county supervisor, laid blame for much of Iowa’s farm woes on President Donald Trump.
“If that man hadn’t started those tariffs we might even have had a market this year,” Henning said, standing near her cornfield.
Henning added, “He’s screwed up so many of our markets.”
Trump hit China with tariffs in 2018, and that nation retaliated with tariffs on U.S. farm commodities.