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Would you buy a farm with power lines?

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  • Would you buy a farm with power lines?

    We've been toying around with purchasing property for a while now. We bought our house long enough ago that we'll have a return even if it does sell for rock-bottom pricing, though we've been assured it will be a great buy for a first time home-owner looking for that $8000 tax incentive.

    Anyway, we were pre-approved for more than we're comfortable spending, but where we're comfortable you can get good land but with a manufactured home. Manufactured homes are hard to finance and the interest is high. At $300k+, interest REALLY matters to us!

    We have found two lovely homes with over 7 acres of pastures, stick-built homes and barns (one has a small indoor arena!) in our desired location. Fenced, cross fenced, the whole nine yards. They have transmitter wires in the pastures. Without the transmitters they'd be way beyond our reach. I've done some research and the results are iffy. I know it's a risk. But, so are microwaves, cell phones and computer monitors. My real estate agent and friend says that we'd always worry about the kids and if one got sick we'd feel terrible.

    Would you buy a home with transmitter lines on the property?

  • #2
    I wouldn't if I were raising dairy cows. There is actually some pretty conclusive proof done that the "stray electricity" affects the amount of milk the cows produce (now, the "stray electricity" bit is under debate, but there fact that these cows produce less milk isn't). There is also research that says if you name your cows they will produce more milk.

    I think you'd only worry about your kids & only get sick if you did believe the power lines were going to do something too you. There are lots of people who think the frequency wind turbines rotate at is synchronous with the human heart and can cause major health issues... last I checked the dutch still love their windmills...
    "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
    Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
    Need You Now Equine

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    • #3
      I have a cell tower about 150 feet or so right outside my front door.
      Here in CT whenever you drive past power lines you can almost count on seeing a barn and paddocks under them. It's usually the only way to find two rare things in this state:
      1) Affordable land
      2) Cleared land
      Land with power lines or cell towers runs on average about 20-40% less due to the "unsightly" things.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!
      ...Belefonte

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      • #4
        You betcha. In a heart beat.

        I would eat those red hot dogs too

        We live fairly close to the high power lines. Maybe a mile. And nearly adjacent to "the dump"

        We have one of the best wells in the entire area. Beautiful clean water.
        No deer. None, zero, zip. We have ridden through the hundreds of acres of the property and never have seen a single deer. Not even a deer print. Hogs, coyotes, snakes, no deer. And VERY few misquitos.

        Odd, yes. But we got a great property at a great price. And we are enjoying it.
        I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.

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        • #5
          ---"There are lots of people who think the frequency wind turbines rotate at is synchronous with the human heart and can cause major health issues... last I checked the dutch still love their windmills..."---

          That is a wild one, because wind turbines come in all sizes, kinds and even each individual turbine rotates according to the wind speed, not always the same speed at all.

          I know, we live in a wind farm and at any one time, some turbines are rotating faster, others slow and some not at all, depending on the wind where each one is standing.

          Oh and deer antilope, wild pigs and cattle all use their shade to rest out of the sun, are not bothered by them at all.

          Comment


          • #6
            I lived quite close to those power lines that march across the land. Lived there for 10 years with no problems. But when it came time to sell... oh my, it became a real problem with buyers. So, now when I see property for sale with close lines, I won't consider buying.

            I wouln't mind if I were never to sell.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've got a 160MW (mega watt) transmission line accross the place and a local utility substation on the corner of the property. The only animal related effect occured when one horse cut herself while scrating on a guy wire. It healed without a scar.

              There was some research a few years back that there were adverse health effects but, IIRC, the researcher involved "fudged" the data and ended up being criminally prosecuted.

              To date I know of no documented adverse health effects. They are, however, an eyesore.

              If everything else is right I'd not worry about them.

              G.
              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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              • #8
                It's the resale issues that would make me think twice and possibly pass. And you say the real estate agent is iffy on the idea? There you go...
                www.forwardfarms.com.
                Follow us on Facebook:
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                • #9
                  Three generations have now lived near the big power lines that cross this farm. No unusual illness noted.

                  The beef cattle herd is healthy and productive. The horses are healthy. Deer, turkey, coyotes and other varmints thrive.

                  There is a unicorn that lives in the brush. He comes out and flirts with one of my mares on Sarurday nights, but whether he's a product of the power line effect or a consequence of my appreciation for Jack Daniels and Coke is up for debate.
                  "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman

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                  • #10
                    We have a local set that run diagonally across the property, and the neighbors' wires went right over the house. We had them shifted. The view isn't clear anymore but we are happier, mainly as a safety issue, and when the wires were falling everywhere from the ice storm this winter I was very glad that we had no wires, energized or not, to fall on the house.
                    As far as the big towers, hmmm. We were checking out a large place that had the high power transmission lines, not visible from the house and not within 500 feet of the house, which I thought was plenty of room. There is a farm down the road from us that has a small set, the wooden towers, which I would buy in a heartbeat. Again the towers are several hundred feet from the house and off to the side. It so totally depends on where they are on the place - on the edge, near the barn, the house, whatever. But just their existance is not an automatic deal breaker for me.
                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                    Incredible Invisible

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                    • #11
                      No, I would not, especially not a small farm with power lines running through it in part because I would not turn out horses in a pasture with them unless the guy wires, etc, were fenced off, and if the entire property is 7 acres, I would not want to be losing any additional pasture space. They are also unsightly, and frankly, in this housing market, you probably do not need to make much, if any, compromises. It is not clear to me whether these are the high voltage type of power lines; if so, I also would not consider the property because of health risks (the regular power lines don't thrill me either but they pose less risk). Finally, I would avoid buying something that has an issue that adversely impacts the value of the property and cannot be changed/improved. It is one thing to get a good deal because something needs fixing up, or is painted garish colors or whatnot, and quite another to buy something with an issue that you later are going to be stuck trying to convince someone that it is not a big deal.
                      Roseknoll Sporthorses
                      www.roseknoll.net

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                      • #12
                        Check Title Documents Carefully

                        I don't have anything to add on the health front or even the resale value (although I think it is a valid point -- if you are thinking twice, it means the resale market is going to as well).

                        However, I would carefully check the title documents for easements in favor of the power company, deed restrictions, etc. There may be use restrictions for the area underneath and/or around the power lines. Don't assume that the current use is allowed or will always be allowed. Make sure you understand any possible issues pertaining to land use before you buy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi - I will admit that I am an electrical engineer by profession first up .

                          PLease note that this is qute a complex subject that is hard to put down all the explanation in a single post. My apologies if I confuse you more.

                          I wouldnt worry about the health issues - it has been comprehensively proven (IMHO) that power lines do not cause cancer. (As far as you can prove a negative, that is.) You actually live in a far denser electro-magnetic field in your house than standing under the power lines - and the lower the voltage the worse (US - 110V single phase, NZ = 230V single phase). A lot of the original research carried out was flawed in that they did not control all but one variable as you are supposed to do - example, one study was down-wind of a known nuclear reactor leak. Another was that no-one had considered that the herbicide used to keep down the grass and weeds on a transmission corridor was a known carcinogen.

                          Also, electricity doesnt stray - it moves between two potentials. What people call stray electricity is where you do not have a good bonding connection between two points setting up a difference in potential that allows the current to flow between two points- similar to an electric fence except wthout the pulse! (I have had a lot of experience tracking these little beggers down in my career! I became the "go-to" person in my company as I could usually spot where they probably were. The funniest thing you have ever seen is a fully in-milk jersey cow leaping one metre in the air coming into the shed! Okay, it isnt that funny but when you have been there 12 hours already and corrected three issues....)

                          Acknowledging all above, I would be wary of buying a property with a transmission line across it. (IF by transmission you mean a line with >= 33kV.)

                          My reasons are three-fold.

                          The first is that you will have access by the company that owns it - I am always wary of this as I have had gates left open etc - as well as them spraying who-knows-what around them. You should check this out if you are serious.

                          The second is what happens when a line breaks - these are under sme considerable tension and also weigh a LOT! If the proposed property has no poles on it (7 acres can be spanned by a single span of transmission line), you could get them whipping around and they can cover a lot of distance. Also, when a broken line touches down on the ground, whether or not you have a pylon on it, it can be similar to a lightning strike (considerably lower power tho ). You may have a live line on the ground - and this is when stock (including horses) get killed or severely shocked. (Another one of my experiences, trying to explain how electricity can shock a horse and the horse still be alive to a vet! We were both amazed - 'cause when I got the call, I expected to find a dead horse. I knew the people involved and the value of their old and much loved horse. Thank god that my earthing design for a pole transformer was "over" designed! It also became the standard design for my company.)

                          The third: well, when you come to sell, you will have the same issue selling it as the present owners do.

                          OVerall, it is an assessment of the risk involved. Would I rule it out? No - if it was >10 acres and the transmission lines well away from the house (1st off to protect your house from damage) and you could minimise the use of the area for horses - cattle are easier to replace. I would ask questions of the line owner - where does it go? Maintenance activities? Frequencies? Plans to re-build/increase capacity etc

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                          • #14
                            My husband's sister married a man who had lived all his life on a farm under power lines - they still do. They never did have any kids and they blame it on the power lines ---- I don't know if that is fact. Not sure I'd risk it and besides, it would bug the heck out of me not to be able to take any pictures without lines being in the way of my pastoral scenes. Re-sale would be a problem, hence the fact they land is less. An arena where we ride is under power lines - some horses take no notice, some are affected. The BC government recently bought out homeowners who they allowed power lines to be built over, caving to public pressure. Lots of negatives, real or perceived, to consider.
                            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                            • #15
                              In the 70's I married into a family that owned a dairy farm on 400 acres which had a high power tranmission line running through the property. Way up on a mountain, hardly anyone else living up there. These lines brought the power from the other side of the mountain down to the villages 9 miles from us.

                              These ppl lived on that land for many,many generations. Even ran a roadhouse there during prohibition. Now, I have not a clue whether any illness they suffered was brought about by the high lines or not but..... My husbands brother was born severely retarded, couldn't even walk until age 15 or feed himself. After much study doctors said it was of environmental causes. The neighbor down the road also had a boy born affected, but much less so than my brother in law. Every member of the family eventually died from cancer. My FIL died of lung cancer, MIL got colon cancer, FIL's two brothers also had dairies in the vicinity and they also both died of cancers. Two other families who dairied on the road also lost many members to cancer.

                              If the cows gave less milk we would not have known as they had always been there and never anywhere else. We raised all our own replacements.

                              They did spray the whole line every other yr. They would send out letters saying they were going to spray, there was no choice in the matter. Whatever they sprayed was quite strong, it killed everything in a matter of days. The land also shared a border with Quebec so the border swath was also sprayed every other yr too. The land had now mostly been sold and due to the fact that this mountain is among a chain that also includes a ski area, the fact of the lines didn't seem to make a difference as far as worth. Or I have always assumed the reason was because of the ski area that it held its worth. IT has always been said that some day our mountain would also be ski area. Most of the land around the mountain is owned by Weirhouser(sp).

                              Can't say we ever had any injuries do to the guy wires though, the animals seemed to realize they were there.

                              Then when the pad was made for our trailer on the farm no one looked up, which resulted in the pad being poured right beneath the local lines. So, we kind of had it all around. I would personally not buy with high lines on the property if it came up. I would avoid it. There was just so much illness in the area. But, with so much else going on it is likely hard to tell just what hte cause of all the illness and death was.

                              Then again, and I know this will sound pretty strange, but we also had another phenomena up there. Right down front of our trailer, out on the dirt road we had this magnetic pull, yup, magnetic pull. Different scientists would come by from time to time, stop and ask to be shown the exact spot, and they would go check it out and study it. They said these places were very rare indeed. You could take your car out of gear, put it in neutral, and the you would be pulled upgrade. I know this sounds hard to believe but it is true.

                              Guess, after that one, I better not even get into the rest of what went on up there, since it involved film being handed over to the gov which was later denied. But we did live in a very interesting area. The old folk up there sure have stories to tell and some even pics to back their stories up. Unfortunately my FIL had a bit too much faith in the gov and gave his up. But he was a constable and thought it was the appropriate thing to do.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would not buy that amount of land with lines across it.

                                That said, I own 93 acres and I do have transmission lines that cross the very NE corner, opposite corner from the house and barn. I would not have bought the place if the lines were closer to the house for resale reasons.


                                Also, FWIW, look into a Land Bank (http://www.farmcredit.com/) for financing on a place with a mobile home. Maybe we got lucky but we financed our land thru a Land Bank and were able to get a loan on the property only, the mobile home is not "attached" to the land in terms of the loan. Our interest rate is 5.5%. Of course we did this so we could easily move the mobile off the land when we build our house and the mobile is older (1993) so doesn't have much value.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Full disclosure here, I'm a retired Electrical Engineer. I'm also a Ham radio operator, and radiation from power lines is a BIG concern to me because of the interference to my equipment -- not for health reasons.

                                  There's a 100+ KV line less than 300 feet from my antenna and the noise from it is not detectable. OTOH, the neighbor's electric fence... *tik* *tik* *tik*

                                  As far as health problems, I wouldn't worry about it. BUT -- the comings and goings of the service crews is another story! There also may be use restrictions, and these can change at the whim of the utility.

                                  With the housing market down, I'd say to keep looking.
                                  The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                                  Winston Churchill

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                                  • #18
                                    I wouldn't buy it. You are getting a 'deal' because it's hard to sell-what happens ten years from now when you want to sell and can't get a decent price? It doesn't matter if there's an actual hazard in living near them, what matters is potential buyers might think there is a problem and not want to buy, or want a huge discount--you can't change someone's mind and it can reduce your potential seller pool. Also what about the easements? Can they run another line also? And how wide is the easement, and how often do they spray herbicides and work on the lines? Open gates certainly are a problem, and I would worry about access by outside personnel.
                                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White

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                                    • #19
                                      I would say no, and partially because of a strange experience I had at a small horse show in CT. The show was at the local fairgrounds, which had the high power lines running across it, and the trailer parking was under the lines. By the afternoon, we noticed that the horses were a bit edgy, and would not eat the hay while they were tied to the trailers. Then one of our show team touched the trailer and got shocked. Not badly, but more than a static electricity shock. None of us were electrical engineers, but we did assume that it had something to do with the power lines.

                                      I also don't really like the looks of them, and the other statements about the utilities having the abiltiy to come onto your property, etc. I have one local pole in my pasture near the road that runs the line from the road up to my house, and the crew comes in to spray the poles for termites once a year. Luckily this is an agricultural area, so they always stop at the house first and ask me to put the horses up.

                                      They also had to come in and cut tree limbs that might affect the poles/lines, so there was another day of rounding up the horses, who were not happy in the barn while the big saws and wood chipper was taking care of the limbs. So I can't even imagine the maintenance for the big transmitters.
                                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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                                      • #20
                                        Across the street fromus is a right of way for the gas lines. Those properties always sell for less, even though there is no visible sign of them as they are underground - but there are building restrictions (obviously can't put a barn up over them), and they are mostly hay fields. What would concern me is the right of the gas company to come onto my land when they chose to or if there was ever a safety issue, i.e earthquake, or whatever....
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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