Natural Gas, Helping PA’s Family Farmers

family farmers

Eric Cowden
Community Outreach Manager, Marcellus Shale Coalition


PA’s family farmers, thanks to natural gas development, have been able to keep their land, invest in new, more efficient equipment and keep their farms profitable.

Pennsylvania is blessed with fertile agricultural land and an abundance of natural resources. For generations, family farming and responsible oil and gas development have forged a key partnership as the backbone of the Commonwealth’s economy.

As we celebrate the Pennsylvania Farm Show’s centennial anniversary this week, that relationship between food, fiber, and fuel couldn’t be stronger, with family farmers, as well as consumers throughout the Commonwealth benefitting from our shale energy revolution.

family farmers

I live on my family farm in southwestern Pennsylvania, and have been actively involved in the Farm Show whether through showing livestock as a child or working early in my career as an event organizer.

Chiefly important among shale’s numerous benefits to rural Pennsylvania is its role in preserving open space and strengthening farming communities.

In fact, responsible natural gas development has added $130,000 in wealth to the average Pennsylvania farm, according to a recent study by the National Agriculture and Rural Development Policy Center.

Shale’s direct economic benefits enable farmers to hold on to their land, continuing the long tradition of multi-generational family farming.

What’s more, many family farmers now have the additional capital to make needed investments in new equipment and technology, while improving profitability of their operations.

For example, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that a Westmoreland County family-run dairy farm, operating since the late 19th century, invested a portion of their natural gas royalty revenues in advanced robotic milkers, allowing the farm to operate around the clock.

Additionally, Pennsylvania’s special tax on natural gas – called an impact fee – has generated more than $850 million for all 67 counties since 2012, with some counties using a portion of the funds for agricultural land preservation.

Lancaster, Cumberland and Perry counties, for example, have dedicated some of their impact tax revenues to farmland preservation programs.

In fact, shale development benefits all 63,000 Pennsylvania farming families through lower energy costs, stable fuel prices, and more affordable fertilizers.

Thanks to our abundant natural gas supplies, consumers throughout the Commonwealth are realizing energy cost savings upwards of 26 percent this winter.

Pennsylvania’s energy companies are committed to strengthening the communities where they are privileged to operate.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), where I now proudly work, specifically supports the Farm Show Scholarship Foundation to help guarantee future generations are equipped with the knowledge and expertise necessary to keep agriculture a vibrant and growing industry.

Additionally, MSC member companies have purchased livestock at the 4-H & FFA Junior Livestock Sale, with the proceeds benefitting youth responsible for raising the animal.

family farmers

Beyond shale’s economic and community benefits, natural gas development strengthens the Commonwealth’s environment too.

For example, America’s carbon dioxide emissions are at 23-year lows, according to government data, and the industry’s commitment to best practices and commonsense regulations ensure public safety and our pristine land is protected.

Further, natural gas and renewable energy can and do absolutely work as partners, as highly intermittent wind and solar energy sources require natural gas as a reliable backup source.

I am personally proud to work in an industry that values a close partnership with Pennsylvania’s agricultural community.

And, it’s clear that the responsible development of our local and abundant natural gas resources will continue to help local, family-owned farms – like my family’s – thrive.

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9 thoughts on “Natural Gas, Helping PA’s Family Farmers

    • It really hurts you to see people benefit from the drilling doesn’t it Bill ?? It hurts you to see it can be done without harm to the environment. You talk a lot about harm you’ve seen but never offer any proof. You claim to have suffered harm yourself from all the drilling around you but never offer any proof. You talk about suing landowners over any harm you may receive yet we don’t hear of any lawsuits you actually filed against your neighbors. You believe the Sautners and junkyard Ray have found weapons grade uranium in their well water. That right there shows just how uneducated you are on the real world.

  1. Find me a farmer who agrees with Bill and I bet their name is Joss Fox or Yoko Ono . I bet they are probably farmers whom never got their hands dirty. No offence to farmers but most every responsible farmer knows that livestock waste, improperly handed , in one of the leading causes of water supply contamination in the world actually causing deaths. Yoko Ono and John Lennon once has prize winning cattle. Wonder if they ever contaminated any ground water ?

    • wrong there are farmers here near me that have had water issues and health issues from HVHF ….what makes all you think “A one size fits all approach is rule of thumb …Pretty darn ignorant !!

  2. Look Donald My position on this NG operations comes from my 5 yrs here seeing many people around me ( and elsewhere ) have issues caused by the drilling ( which never existed before that .Also plenty of other issues close by with spills,dust,venting and much more .I don’t support all you people who made money by causing nuisances and not giving a crap about anyone but your selves (and never will ) and screwing all those around them for your own benefit .Like I told you I make it a legal issue now .There are law suits already in process .( and more will be filed ASAP ) ..I don’t offer any proof ( and see No need to give any to those here so they can deny it all ) that becomes my business and those of official position only ……if you have never seen anything negative you have not looked around ( or you live in a dream world ) …Don’t need don’t need past Dimock info to have my position , it all came from my experiences here .As far as being educated I believe I am quite well positioned too …enough to record ,and report all issues I have seen and try to help those that have been screwed .over the last number of years .You on the other hand just think about how big ( or small since wells deplete rapidly ) your royalty check will be …and you got the nerve of calling me uneducated ?

  3. I saw a bigfoot on my farm and I have documented proof. I’m not going to show you my proof because you would deny it. Do you believe me ?? If you do I got news for you. It’s a flat out lie because I never saw a bigfoot and there is no proof.

    • Look you are entitled to play your game …I don’t like or play games …you and those here are insignificant to proving anything to ….Stay with your bunch you all desire each other.

  4. Bill will never change until his religion fails him. He is stuck with his beliefs not because they are true but because of his past disregards of fact and the embarrassment of being outed as an anti clergyman

    • @ Vic …. ” .religion fails him ” ….let me tell you you are 180 from what I believe ! Your words are nothing but bull .You don’t know me and as I have mentioned many times all my opinions come from my dealings of the past 5 + years.It’s all you deniers that have the issues cause you all follow the piper and have no field contact except from the industry itself ( if that much )….Me I have all the experiences and data ( certified air,water,soil testing done near wells and homes close by ….I really hope some day you get your drilling maybe then you’ll learn what can be involved ….also your comment is really weird and actually shows me who I am really dealing with ….No comment


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