A few things of interest from the national & Ohio media:
Kasich advocates switching state vehicles to nat gas, says “We cannot stop fracking”
Ohio might join with neighboring states and convert government vehicle fleets to run on natural gas, which would boost demand for gas from the region’s shale formations, Gov. John Kasich said yesterday.
The governor spoke about the plan in the closing address of his two-day energy conference. He also said his office will announce a comprehensive energy policy by spring, although he gave few details about what it might include.
Kasich said he spoke with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett about the natural-gas-fueled vehicle idea, and members of his staff have brought up the idea with counterparts in Indiana and Michigan.
Nat Gas industry says 200,000 jobs could result from Ohio shale gas
Dayton Daily News/AP
Natural gas trapped in two shale formations beneath Ohio could mean thousands of new jobs, if activity in other states is any indication.
In Pennsylvania, which sits on one of the same shale formations as Ohio, gas and oil industries hired 72,000 people between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011, according to Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry statistics.
The number of new hires for the core gas industries — extraction, drilling and pipeline work — is smaller but still doubled to 18,837 from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2010.
Tim McElhinny, an analyst with the Pennsylvania Labor Department, said all hires can’t be attributed to new drilling, but there are so many of them that a portion must be caused by work on the Marcellus shale.
Industry says gas boom could produce economic miracle
The Plain Dealer
… The new jobs study, contained in a 92-page economic impact analysis, was prepared by economic research company Kleinhenze & Associates of Cleveland for the Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Association.
The conclusions are based on propriety information obtained from large gas and oil corporations that jockeyed for months to lease mineral rights from rural land owners. Marietta College, Ohio State University, Central Ohio Technical College and Zane State College contributed to the data analysis.
Among the study’s main conclusions:
• Over the next five years, oil and gas producers are expected to spend $34 billion in exploration and development, pipelines, royalty payments to landowners and other leasing expenditures.
• New jobs would start slowly — 4,614 jobs this year, increasing to 22,297 next year — and then mushroom by tens of thousands from 2013 through 2015, culminating at an estimated 204,520 jobs by 2015.
• Wages, salaries and personal income attributable to the production would soar to an estimated $12 billion per year, including $1.6 billion in royalties, by 2015.
• Annual tax revenues, including income, property, commercial activity and “severance” taxes or royalties tied to the production would total $478.9 million by 2015.
Corn Yields Coming in Mixed
Combines are rolling in the Corn Belt. So, what’s the crop making so far?
Yields are all across the board as harvest gets rolling in corn and soybean country. Corn moisture levels are still on the high side in a lot of areas, though, keeping harvest progress a little on the slow side.
“Things are moving slow. Corn is not drying down very fast, if at all it seems,” says Benton, Illinois, farmer Kelly Robertson. “Working on odds and ends between trying to haul some corn out and it doesn’t seem like I am getting much accomplished.”
But, where harvest activity has been able to pick up, the results are mixed.
“We are running here in northeast Kansas. Corn is pretty good — above average from what I was expecting,” says Seneca, Kansas, farmer Rod Tangeman says. “So far, we have had fields go 168 [bushels/acre], 170, 105, 142, 163 and 158.”
Obama would cut ag programs
When it comes to farm policy, Congress often ignores White House proposals. It passed the 2008 Farm Bill over President George W. Bush’s veto and it’s possible both parties will ignore some of the ideas put forth Monday in President Barack Obama’s Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction Plan,
Obama didn’t ignore agriculture, however. He wants to eliminate or reduce these ag programs:
- Eliminate Direct Payments. The White House says they’re not needed at a time of high farm income, adding that “Economists have shown that direct payments have priced young Americans out of renting or owning the land needed to enter into farming.” It would save $3 billion per year.
- Crop Insurance. The Administration is looking for more cuts here. It says currents costs are $8 billion per year, with $2.3 billion going to insurance companies and $5.7 billion to farmers as premium subsidies. USDA has already trimmed $600 million a year from support for insurers and hasn’t touched subsidies of farmer premiums. Obama’s deficit cutting plan would trim another 200 million a year from insurance companies, arguing that they would still have a return on investment of 12%. Farmer premium subsidies for coverage at the 50% catastrophic level would not change but premium subsidies on higher levels over coverage would be shaved by two basis points, or $200 million per year (a 3,.5% cut from current levels).
- Conservation. Obama would cut conservation programs by $200 million a year “by better targeting conservation funding to the most cost-effective and environmentally- beneficial programs and practices.” Even with those cuts, conservation assistance is projected to grow by $60 billion over the next 10 years.
Farm lobby’s power withers as programs face cuts
Washington’s debt crisis brings American agriculture to a crossroads this fall and no other sector of the economy may have more to gain or lose from the debate in Congress over deficit reduction.
With record exports predicted for 2011, farmers begin with a proven self-interest in stable world markets, but their very success makes them all the more vulnerable now to deep cuts from the federal subsidies so synonymous with agriculture for decades.