Fracking and Farmland: Stories from the Field
High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as "fracking," is a method of oil and gas extraction that injects millions of gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals and sand at high pressure deep underground, pivoting horizontally for up to one mile, to break apart shale formations.
Due to technological advances that allow the fracking industry to tap into shale formations that were not previously economically feasible to exploit, oil and gas companies are now signing leases with landowners in parts of Ohio containing Marcellus, Utica, and Devonian shale formations.
Although many have welcomed fracking as an opportunity for economic growth, others point to evidence that suggests this new drilling technology could contaminate the air, water, and soil and have impacts on public health and our food supply.
Farmers' livelihoods depend on the integrity of the soil, clean water, and pollution-free air. Because of their reliance on the land, farmers are among those most at risk to suffer from the negative impacts of fracking. As the fracking industry grows in Ohio, farmers’ concerns are mounting.
Read on to learn about the challenges that four Ohio farmers are facing and what you can do to help.
Meet Kip Gardner
Kip Gardner, owner of Creekview Ridge Farm, purchased 18 acres of land in January 2011 in Minerva, Ohio. He is currently working on earning organic certification on 10 acres of land where he grows a variety of specialty crops and raises free range chickens.
Kip is among the countless Ohio farmers who have been asked to sign a lease. As his neighbors enter into contracts, nearby fracking and the threat of mandatory pooling could put his organic certification and land at risk, before he's even had a chance to get started. Read more about Kip.
Meet Dan and Kathy Philipps
In 1985, Dan and Kathy Philipps purchased a beautiful and historic lot of land in Lake County. After raising two children and sending them off to college, the Philipps were ready to start a small blueberry farm.
With a fracking operation less than a mile from their farm and neighbors considering leases, the Phillips are concerned about the health impacts of fracking and how little is known about the chemicals being used. Read more about the Phillips.
Meet Mardy Townsend
Mardy Townsend raises grass-fed beef cattle at Marshy Meadows Farm, a 225 acre plot of land near Windsor, Ohio.
Mardy is concerned about nearby waste injection wells and the impact that drilling could have on the groundwater on which she and her livestock depend. Read more about Mardy.
Meet Alex Dragovich
Alex Drogovich has owned and operated Mud Run Farms in Stark County since 1980. He raises free range pastured poultry and grows small grains and produce.
Alex is keenly aware of the connection between successful farming and the health of the soil, water, and air. As the land around him is leased to oil and gas companies, Alex is concerned that contamination could affect both his land and his way of life. Read more about Alex.
To learn more about fracking and farmland, click here.
Are you a farmer impacted by fracking that would like to share your story? Click here.
To find out how to get involved and help protect Ohio’s farmland from fracking, contact OEFFA's Policy Program Coordinator, MacKenzie Bailey, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.