How do you know if the wind-power developer you’re working with is reputable?

“That’s a separate challenge in itself,” says Dean Retherford, an Indiana farm manager who has been involved in many wind-lease negotiations in the Hoosier State, which has seen a tenfold increase in wind power since 2009.

Landowners should investigate the developer’s history and track record, he says. “Who is the company? Where is their financing coming from? Does the company have experience building turbines? Do they have other projects operating?” These are all questions landowners should ask, he says.

“There are a lot of experienced wind power developers now,” says Shannon Ferrell, an agricultural law professor at Oklahoma State University. You can ask the company for references and talk to landowners where the developer has done other projects.

Other signs that the developer has the know-how and resources to put together a wind farm include an agreement to sell the wind power to a utility company, and an agreement to connect to the electricity grid.

“I encourage landowners to take their time,” says Dwight Aakre, a North Dakota State University farm management specialist. “Don’t rush into an agreement. And don’t let the developer push you around.”