Thursday, August 15, 2013

Save the farm... by fracking it?

So there's some guy named (-------) who's been harassing me on the PressConnects comments.

He uses highly abusive language, calls me all kinds of names,
mischaracterizes my arguments,  and falsely attributes quotes to me.

Sounds like an Energy in Depth shill,
or just someone with some land in NY wanting to lease and make
some quick cash, blind to the consequences.

I asked him why he hates me. Here's what he said:
Not a bit of hatred here. I do have a great deal of disgust however for those who are
actively engaged in destroying the lives of farmers and landowners
whose only value
in their land lies 1 mile below the surface
and the likes of you and your idol, Mr. Fox,
are accomplices in that destruction
. This is the THIRD time I'm asking you: where is
your solar array?


So I decided to try to find out of fracking would save the family farm. 
First question, has anyone examined the effects on Dairy Farming?
Yep: check this study from PSU:
Recall, PSU is the home of Terry Engelder and other shale-friendly profs.
Not exactly a haven for left-wing granola-eating antis.

So I crunched the data and found some interesting stats.
The study looked at data for 56 counties in PA for the period 2007-2010.

I aggregated the data into 3 groups:
  • Counties with no gas drilling
  • Counties with 1-10 wells
  • Counties with 11-515 wells.
First thing of note is that the number of cows fell off by ~1%
even in counties without drilling, while production went up by ~1%.

This can probably be accounted for by the move away from
smaller farms to more concentrated farms with greater production efficiency.

When we add in the counties with fracking, another trend became obvious:
The more wells there were, the more the farms suffered, both in the
number of cows (head count) and the milk production.

# Cows Production
No gas drilling, average -1.18% 0.89%
1-10 wells -8.85% -4.40%
>10 wells -13.44% -12.52%

It's no wonder when you have to give your cows water that looks like this:

Water from an organic dairy farm in Bradford County PA

Terry Greenwood with Dead Calf


So next time someone tells you that we must frack the farm in order to save it,
send them this way.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)


Carol French said...

Bill, I think "Saving the Family Farm" means allowing that farmer the right to retire from farming WITHOUT selling his home or land. The spin on this is: the family farms are not becoming housing developments, but are becoming industrial waste sites. We must make it clear that it is not saving the farming business. Any farm that is staying an active farm are paying the price, because there are fewer farms. Example the veterinarians, feed stores, saw dust are charging more for their services. The water in the bowl is my water. The Department of Environmental Protection still will not test my water. I believe the reason is simple. Should they find what is in my water to be caused by the gas company operating in my area liable they would have to provide my family and farming operation water. Using the same figures used to charge Chesapeake Energy for water that was provided to a family on Paradise Road, It would cost Chesapeake $196,000 per month just for my cows water. This is $196.00 hauling charge, $16.00 per hundred weight of water for only 40 adult milking cows. This figure does NOT include water for my family nor does it include water to wash the milking equipment. I would like everyone to think about one thing. the average farmer is 58- 61 years of age, they looked at the gas industry as a way of retiring and generating an income from the land. If something was done about the co-ops overseeing the marketing of milk, I don't think we would have seen an epidemic in the rush to sign syndrome. Now everyone must wonder where will their food come from and is it quality food. In my opinion most of the active farms are the ones with contaminated water, so are they selling contaminated produce?

JOHN McARDLE said...

Wait until the data comes out about California produce being irradiated by Fukishima nuclear power plant Japan...OMG! WE ARE SCREWED!

Sweet Autumn Farm said...

Talked to a farmer over the weekend who had a neighbor's gas well blowout all over his potato field. Potatoes plants died(wonder if he was able to salvage and sell his potato crop?)He said it took a few years before anything would start to grow there again. It may soon not be a safe bet to buy produce from Fracksylvania.

photons R us said...

Bill: Did it ever occur to you the reason the milk production decreases is that the dairy farmers are now making money from the gas and have NO NEED to increase milk production to supplement their income? Of course you didn't.

Bill Huston said...

Photons/Vic-- the point is that from this data is quite clear-- Where there is gas drilling, people are getting out of farming. Unlike gas, Humans need farms in order to live. This is cause for alarm.