Webinar to look at natural gas development's effect on agriculture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Web-based seminar sponsored by Penn State Extension will examine how Marcellus Shale natural-gas development is affecting agriculture in Pennsylvania.

The 75-minute webinar will be held at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10. Presenters will be Gary Sheppard and Mark Madden, extension educators based in Westmoreland and Sullivan counties, respectively, who have extensive experience dealing with Marcellus Shale natural-gas drilling impacts on agriculture in their regions.

Sheppard will explore the impact natural gas wells have on farms from four perspectives. "Those include financial, family, farmstead and social," he said. "I will discuss some planning considerations for the business plan of the farm and highlight the assistance available from organizations such as USDA's Farm Service Agency and from resources such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement and Farmland Preservation programs."

Sheppard noted that he also will touch on how some farmers who are embracing holistic concepts of sustainability are struggling to decide how Marcellus drilling fits into their values.

Madden intends to review several case studies of farmers and farms near Marcellus gas-drilling operations.

"I want to capture some of the personal considerations and choices farmers are dealing with," he said.

The webinar is part of a series of online workshops addressing opportunities and challenges related to the state's Marcellus Shale gas boom. Information about how to register for the session is available on the webinar page of Penn State Extension's natural-gas website at http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas/webinars.

Titles of upcoming monthly webinars include "Natural Gas Development's Impact on Forestlands," "Seismic Testing: What's It All About?" "Transportation Patterns and Impacts from Marcellus Development," and "Municipalities' Roles, Water Use, and Protections."

Previous webinars, publications and information on topics such as air pollution from gas development; the gas boom's effect on landfills; water use and quality; zoning; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; implications for local communities; gas pipelines and right-of-way issues; and legal issues surrounding gas development also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website (http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas).

For more information about the webinar, contact John Turack, extension educator based in Westmoreland County, at 724-837-1402 or by email at jdt15@psu.edu.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015