Clean Energy Journey

Reviving Nebraska: The Brockhaus Brothers’ Journey from Cattle Farming to Wind Energy

Platte County, Nebraska – Brothers Terry and Steve Brockhaus were struggling to keep the family cattle business afloat as livestock prices became too volatile and fell too low.,  That’s when an energy company approached them with an opportunity that would change their lives for good.

Omaha-based Bluestem Energy Solutions presented the Brockhaus brothers with a plan that included a land lease to build four wind turbines across 200 acres of irrigated land. Steve’s son, Jeff Brockhaus, 26, noted that farming in the vicinity of the four turbines was remarkably easy. Moreover, the Brockhaus farm warmly welcomed the approximately $32,000 in land-lease payments received from Omaha’s Bluestem Energy Solutions in January, providing a much-needed financial boost amidst a challenging year of plummeting commodity prices affecting millions of American farmers.

In response to the decision to sell the cattle on their family farm, Terry Brockhaus said, “There ain’t no money in them. I’d take turbines any day.”

They ended up not only generating a steady income from the land lease, but they were also able to plant and harvest corn on the land around the turbines. The wind turbines on the Brockhaus’ land have been fueling the local power energy grid for eight years, providing energy for the county. 

Terry and Steve Brockhaus saved their family farm from slow but sure decline, are powering the Nebraska grid with clean energy, and generating community benefits for Platte County. Steve Brockhaus expressed his deep gratitude for the Bluestem development. He feels especially blessed for the numerous advantages it brings, including the chance to support both the county and the local consumers of Loup Power District.

“It ain’t too often you can help everybody in the county by lowering taxes and help everybody on the Loup grid.”