Motivated by the high cost of energy, a western Kansas hog operation is installing two wind turbines to generate electricity for ventilators and pumps at two farms near Plains, Kan.

  In winter, the wind will provide power for space heaters. The goal is to reduce the operation’s dependence on natural gas.

Kansas-Smith Farms will become only the second farm in the state to use wind power on a large scale. The 120-kilowatt turbines, expected to be operational this summer, will be approximately 90 feet high with blades about 60 feet in diameter. The turbine units will cost an estimated $125,000 each and are expected to pay for themselves within eight years.

Officials with Kansas-Smith, associated with a North Carolina firm, say they may consider erecting additional wind units to generate power for other pork production operations in nearby SewardCounty.