November 19, 2015

New Study: Agricultural Sector to Benefit from New Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure

Ohio State Grange Commissioned Paper Concludes That New, Safe Pipeline Infrastructure Will Help Ohio and Michigan Ag Sector


FREDERICKTOWN, OHIO – The Ohio State Grange today released a new analysis examining the interrelationship between the agricultural sector and access to affordable natural gas supplies in Ohio and Michigan.  The analysis, conducted by Hillsdale College Professors Dr. Gary Wolfram and Dr. Charles Steele, examines two key aspects of new underground natural gas pipeline projects: safety and the net benefits they deliver to the farming community.

“Agriculture is the traditional industry of America’s Midwest and the livelihood of millions of Americans,” said Lisa Tharp, Legislative Director of the Ohio State Grange. “It’s important to recognize the positive impact that natural gas pipeline infrastructure will have on farming in the 21st century.  Increasing access to affordable natural gas will serve as a great benefit to our region’s farmers that face increasing costs.”

In recent years, Ohio has become a new epicenter of energy development with natural gas production increasing from less than 7 billion cubic feet a day five years ago to more than 87 billion cubic feet a day today.  The increase in production has led in turn to proposals, such as the Rover pipeline project, to build new pipeline infrastructure in Ohio and Michigan in order to move those products to market.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently reviewing the applications for proposed natural gas pipelines projects that would cross parts of Ohio and Michigan.  For one such project, the Rover pipeline project, FERC recently released their proposed timeline for the project that would see a final decision made by end of October 2016.

“Farmers across our region and country are are projected to face falling agricultural commodity prices,” noted Dr. Wolfram.  “Natural gas is a major component of farming operations and expenses. Building new natural gas infrastructure can reduce costs for famers by increasing access to affordable natural gas.”

The white paper, “Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure and Its Impact on Michigan and Ohio Agriculture,” addresses key agricultural direct needs for affordable natural gas, from fuel, grain drying, in addition to indirect uses in fertilizers and pesticides.  It also demonstrates that there is no safer method of transportation for natural gas.

“The ag sector, like consumers and many other industries, depend on access to affordable natural gas,” concluded Dr. Charles Steele.  There are always risks in transporting energy goods such as natural gas.  So long as buried natural gas pipeline infrastructure is safe, the Hillsdale Policy Group believes that the approval of proposed natural gas pipeline projects is in the best interest of Michigan and Ohio.”

The white paper can be found online here.

The Grange, officially referred to as the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is the oldest American agricultural advocacy group with a national scope.  Founded in 1867, the Grange encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture. There are currently Granges operating in 37 states, including Ohio and Michigan; representing more than 200,000 members throughout rural America. 

Dr. Gary Wolfram is the William E. Simon Professor of Economics at Hillsdale College and President of Hillsdale Policy Group, a consulting firm specializing in taxation and policy analysis. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a weekly columnist for The Detroit News and author of A Capitalist Manifesto.

Dr. Charles N. Steele is an Associate Professor of Economics at Hillsdale College and holds the Herman and Suzanne Dettwiler Chair in Economics. He also works as an Economist for the Hillsdale Policy Group. Steele served as a consultant on design and performance reviews for USDA crop insurance programs and received his Ph.D in Economics from New York University.