WOOSTER, Ohio — A study of how natural gas pipeline installations affect Ohio cropland productivity begins this fall thanks to a $200,000 gift from Kinder Morgan, Inc. to The Ohio State University.
The study, to be overseen by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, focuses on soil disturbance caused by statewide pipeline installations.
Kinder Morgan’s gift allows the college to begin identifying and sampling soil from farmer fields this fall, said Steve Culman, soil fertility specialist with Ohio State University Extension and project leader. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.
Over the course of three years, the college will survey and take samples from 50 fields statewide, predominantly in rural areas. Samples will be taken before and after pipeline installation.
“Now we can move forward,” Culman said. “We’re very appreciative of the leadership that Kinder Morgan is providing here. This operation will affect a lot of acres, nationally and locally within the state of Ohio. A lot of landowners are being affected by this. They are genuinely interested in understanding it.”
This study is of particular interest to Kinder Morgan, the Houston-based corporation which owns or operates 84,000 pipelines and is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America.
"Kinder Morgan takes great pride in restoring agriculture properties to their full production yields following the construction of a pipeline,” said Allen Fore, Kinder Morgan’s vice president of public affairs. “We have a long history operating in Ohio and we continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to working collaboratively with landowners.
“This study will examine the effectiveness of our best practices to determine what restoration alternatives, if any, our company and industry should follow."
With its extensive agricultural programs statewide, Ohio State is the premier institution for studying a pipeline’s effect on farmland, Fore said.
In addition, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has offered to provide assistance to the project, Executive Vice President Jack Fisher said.
“The study is important to Ohio farmers because of its review of the effects of pipeline construction on Ohio farmland productivity,” Fisher said.
The donation counts toward the $2.5-billion But for Ohio State campaign, of which CFAES has a $150 million goal. One important portion of that campaign is a $38 million objective to Embolden the Research Agenda. The college has eclipsed that $38 million goal, having raised $64 million towards it.
More information about this gift and others to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences can be found at cfaes.osu.edu/development.
Information about the pipeline and soils research can be found at go.osu.edu/pipelineresearch.