Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates agriculture, natural gas partnerships

Chris Getman Chris Getman

Agriculture is an essential part of Pennsylvania’s economy. The scenic farms that pepper the state’s landscape form a $185 billion industry. Thanks to Pennsylvania’s shale boom, energy has also grown into a vital part of our economy. So it’s fitting that the natural gas industry is celebrating the agriculture during the Pennsylvania Farm Show through Jan. 13.

In a February 2017 op-ed for the Lebanon Daily News, Dave Williams of Pennsylvania Farm Country Radio called the shale revolution a “huge boost for Pennsylvania agriculture.” He noted how the abundance of natural gas has led to decreases in the prices of diesel fuel and fertilizer, while royalty payments from natural gas operators have kept many small farms operational.

Williams’ points illustrate how imperative the partnership between the energy and agricultural sectors is for Pennsylvania’s economy. Natural gas and agribusiness are two of the state’s key industries, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Energy and agriculture together generate billions of dollars and employ hundreds of thousands, ensuring state and local economies remain strong.

The Farm Show is another example of how agriculture and natural gas can come together. In October at the Midstream PA 2017 conference, representatives of Sunoco Pipeline and PennAg Industries Association discussed how they partnered to develop and launch a biosecurity training module that raises awareness of basic farm safety and etiquette for all sectors, including energy. PennAg Executive Vice President Christian Herr commended Sunoco Pipeline for taking a leadership position on the issue.

The duckling exhibit at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, celebrating the state's agriculture industry

This wasn’t the first time that agriculture and energy have partnered. The natural gas industry recognizes how vital Pennsylvania’s farms are. The state’s farmers appreciate the benefits the natural gas industry provides, including low-cost energy and royalty payments. 

And it’s not just economic benefits that make this partnership work. The natural gas sector has given generously to the agricultural community, as Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) Community Outreach Manager Eric Cowden noted in a PennLive op-ed last year.

The MSC supports the Farm Show Scholarship Foundation, which helps develop the next generation of Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry. MSC member companies also purchase livestock at the 4-H and Future Farmers of America Junior Livestock Sale, with proceeds paid to the youth responsible for raising the purchased animals.

In these divisive times, the natural gas and agricultural sectors are providing a fine example of how working together can benefit all Pennsylvanians.

A calf stays warm at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Chris Getman Chris Getman

Chris Getman is a public relations, corporate communications and issue advocacy expert with concentrated expertise in the energy industry.

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