Natural Gas: Helping America’s Farmers That God Made

Last night’s Super Bowl, according to Reuters, “scored the highest rating share in history for the game.” During the game, a powerful Dodge Ram commercial – available here – highlighted the tireless and often thankless work that America’s farmers undertake each and every day. As a nation, we are deeply grateful for this important industry’s tireless and selfless efforts.

Recently, in fact, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), once again participated in the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. MSC CEO Kathryn Klaber said this at the time of the event:

“The agriculture community is a key partner in the responsible development of clean-burning natural gas. In each of the past three years that we’ve participated in the farm show, we’ve found more interest in Marcellus-related issues and more informed show-goers who are personally realizing the benefits of this world-class resource. Our industry is grateful for and proud of the strong, working relationships that we continue to build across the agriculture community. This is a unique partnership, given our shared goals of responsible land development and producing commodities that benefit the regional economy.”

And farmers across the region, who continue to face incredibly difficult challenges, are speaking out loudly and clearly in support of the safe development of clean-burning American natural gas:

  • Western Pa. farmer: “Natural gas a win-win”: The natural gas wells are not about financial gain or greed, but about the farms being able to pay for themselves. It’s a chance for farmers to update worn-out equipment, repair and replace old buildings and do the needed maintenance to keep the farm going for future generations. … I also know the gas drilling company and MarkWest did an outstanding job meeting my parents’ demands and answering their concerns. If the people who are so upset with the wells were given the same opportunity as us, they would do exactly the same as we did in order to preserve their farm. It is time to move forward because I am part of the generation that realizes we will need natural gas to survive. … It’s a definite win-win not just for the farmer or landowner, but everyone. (Observer-Reporter letter, 1/30/13)
  • “Billions in gas drilling royalties transform lives”: Private landowners are reaping billions of dollars in royalties each year from the boom in natural gas drilling, transforming lives and livelihoods. … For some landowners, the unexpected royalties have made a big difference. “We used to have to put stuff on credit cards. It was basically living from paycheck to paycheck,” said Shawn Georgetti, who runs a family dairy farm in Avella, about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. … Before Range Resources drilled a well on the family property in 2012, Georgetti said, he was stuck using 30-year-old equipment, with no way to upgrade without going seriously into debt. “You don’t have that problem anymore. It’s a lot more fun to farm,” Georgetti said, since he has been able to buy newer equipment that’s bigger, faster and more fuel-efficient. The drilling hasn’t caused any problems for the farm, he said. (Associated Press, 1/27/13)
  • NY farmer “convinced fracking can be done safely”: Jennifer Huntington’s family feel like they have been good stewards to the land and note that water is just as important in milk as in beer. But Jennifer is convinced fracking can be done safely. In fact, she sold the rights to drill for natural gas below her precious pasture, a move that she said has made her an unpopular person in town. “We all love this area, none of us want to see it ruined. We just kind of have a different vision,” Huntington told Smith. (NBC Rock Center, 1/31/13)
  • Pa. famers eager “for natural gas drilling to start”: Steve Duran’s Robinson Township farm has been in his family for three generations, and he hopes to pass the property on to his daughter. But unless natural gas drilling take place on his property, Duran doubts that will be possible. Duran and nearly 40 other natural gas leaseholders in Robinson Township met this week to discuss the benefits of gas drilling and their frustration that the industry has stalled in Robinson. … Without royalties from natural gas drilling, property owners say they are unable to replace aging farming equipment, pay fuel costs or their taxes. … “We really need something here, and I think this is our shot,” said Duran, a combat medic during two tours of duty in Iraq. … Some, such as Richard and Bonnie Moore, who have Range drilling a well on their Smith Township farm and MarkWest laying pipeline there and on their Robinson Township farm, say the industry is well regulated. … Calling the companies “top notch” because they don’t cut corners, Bonnie Moore said the state Department of Environmental Protection closely watches over the work. “We love the land, and we wouldn’t want to hurt it in any way,” she said. Four of her grandchildren now work in the Marcellus Shale industry, and three of them were able to purchase houses this year. “They couldn’t have done that working for Burger King,” she said. (Observer-Reporter, 2/1/13)

As the Tribune-Review reports over the weekend, “Chrysler is the first to bring to market a Dodge Ram 2500 series truck that rolls out of the factory ready to use compressed natural gas along with gasoline.”

So hats off to Dodge for their heartfelt thanks to America’s farmers as well as the their commitment to further advancing the use of clean-burning American natural gas to power our nation’s growing transportation needs.