NYS farmers anti- anti-hydrofracking at Farm Bureau meeting

Fracking on farmland in Wisconsin. Photo: Carol Mitchell, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Fracking on farmland in Wisconsin. Photo: Carol Mitchell, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

At its annual meeting yesterday in Liverpool, NY, delegates of the New York Farm Bureau rejected a proposal to oppose hydraulic fracturing, Syracuse.com is reporting. That's not a major surprise, as the group has vocally supported fracking in Albany, saying it could improve rural economies and help farmers make a living.

The arguments on both sides are familiar: Judi Whittaker, a delegate and Broome County dairy farmer, is concerned that without a good lease on their land, her family might not be able to pass on a stable business to the next generation (which will be the seventh to farm their land.) She's looking for a lease that offers safety assurances for the family and its cows.

She and other farmers are looking for an answer soon from the state, too, on whether it will even allow fracking. They worry gas companies will lose interest in leasing their land if the state waits too long to make its decision. Currently the state Health Commissioner is working on a public health report on the process, but there's no expected due date on that.

On the other hand, some are worried about the consequences of hydrofracking for their land and animals. Schuyler County dairy farmer Ed Gates was one voice against fracking at the meeting: He's concerned about its potential impact on his wells, which he uses to water his 900 cows.

There's a lot more detail in the article. On a less controversial note, the Farm Bureau also announced at its annual meeting that farmers in New York last year donated 8.4 million pounds of food to food banks this year. As our reporter Zach Hirsch pointed out in his story on the donations, that's a lot of chow!

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  1. There is a prevalent belief among those pro-frackers that there is big money to be made….big enough that if the process wrecks the land, they'll have enough money to buy elsewhere. Family heritage be damned!

    • Correct you are Michael, these folks simply want to be the modern version of Jed Clampett.

      • Even Jed Clampett wasn't so crass. We're talking about selling Nellie Mae!

  2. I was there, it wasn't unanimous. We have a democratic process

  3. This might be the place to point out that one can continue to farm, without fear of toxic fumes, or poisoned water under the wind towers…