Want Farmland Preservation? Better Get Fracking Now!

A new study by the USDA Economic Research Service demonstrates yet again there is no better farmland preservation program than fracking for oil and gas.

The USDA Economic Research Service, one of the best research outfits there is, just came out with a marvelous study entitled “Ownership of Oil and Gas Rights: Implications for U.S. Farm Income ....” While, there are a few points to be argued with the results, it demonstrates something I’ve felt from the very beginning of the shale revolution; there is no more effective method of preserving farmland and open space than natural gas development, which is now dependent on fracking. This is because nothing else can produce so much income for the landowner with so little impact and there is no farmland preservation without farm income.

This map, from the study, illustrates the tremendous amount of oil and gas production taking place on farmland, production that translates into farm income, farm values and farmland preservation. Here are some of the key findings of the study:

  • From 2005 to 2014, high energy prices and innovation in extraction methods spurred annual U.S. production of oil and gas to grow by 69 percent, with almost 67 percent of the production occurring on farmland in 2014.

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