While natural gas is often associated with home heating, manufacturing, and other industrial applications, the energy resource also plays a crucial role in agricultural operations. Midstream infrastructure stands to increase farmers’ access to natural gas, thereby lowering overhead costs and increasing overall profitability.
Steubenville Herald-Star recently published an opinion editorial by Bob White, president of the Ohio State Grange, in which he expounds on the relationship between agriculture and natural gas, writing:
Ohio’s farmers compete in an increasingly tough global marketplace. Our competition comes not only from other Midwestern states. We go up against farmers thousands of miles away, and all of this competition puts constant pressure on prices. It is extremely tough to keep a farm profitable these days, which is why we need to take advantage of every efficiency and cost-cutting measure we can.
One major and particularly challenging expense is energy. Farmers can shop around for deals on feed or equipment, but energy expenditures are tougher to manage. You can’t take the pickup truck down to the energy store and stock up on power during a clearance sale. Farmers have to hope that energy providers can find ways to lower costs.
White goes on to voice his support for projects like the Rover Pipeline:
So anything to reduce energy rates can have a big impact on farm profitability. That is why the Ohio State Grange supports sound energy projects like the Rover Pipeline.
During the past 40 years, natural gas has accounted for between a third and a half of farms’ fossil fuel energy. The Rover Pipeline will bring 3.25 trillion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale gas reserves to the Midwest. That is enough natural gas — every day — to power more than 15 million homes.
Keeping overhead low means farmers can stay profitable even when prices for their products fall. As the 2015 report put it, “lower prices are not necessarily a disaster for farmers if costs are also kept low. Among other things, lower prices mean increased revenues from agricultural exports, potentially a great benefit to farmers if they can keep costs down. Either way, high or low prices, cost control is crucial to economically viable farm operations.”
Importantly, underground pipelines like Rover are the safest means of transporting natural gas from production sites to consumers. Project officials have voiced their commitment to completely restoring any area affected by construction. And once in operation, Rover will provide safe and efficient access to natural gas for farmers, manufacturers, businesses, and consumers throughout the Midwest.
As White concludes, “Ohio needs projects like the Rover Pipeline. The sooner they are completed, the sooner they can start helping our farmers compete.” CEPI applauds White for his message – and we look forward to a speedy completion of the Rover Pipeline in order to bolster operations like White’s and others across the state of Ohio.