Appalachian Basin

Dairy Farms Need SGEIS Approval

Lisa Robinson
New York State Dairy Farmer


At this time I would like to thank the DEC for allowing this hearing (Danville) to take place regarding the SGEIS report. This report, which was started in 2009, undertook a comprehensive review of all aspects of natural gas development proposed in New York. This extensive review included the latest science, studies, industry operations and the regulations in place in the 33 states that currently produce natural gas. DEC, at the end of these deliberations, concluded high volume hydraulic fracturing can be safely undertaken in New York State with strong regulations of the sort the agency has proposed. Therefore, given the economic benefits to be had, there are compelling reasons to proceed without further delay.

My name is Lisa Robinson. My husband and I are dairy farmers in Steuben County. In 1947, my husband’s grandfather started our dairy farm. In the 1990’s, my husband’s parents took over the farm and in 2002, it was time for the farm to be passed on to my husband and I through a lease turned into a sale. In 2007 we began leasing the farm and at the end of 2009, we acquired all 465 acres. So, yes, our lease payment is gone, but our FSA/Mortgage payment is not. Not everyone has the luxury of having their family farm given to them. Our dream was to keep this farm in the family to be handed down to our children which could then be passed down to a fourth generation.

Since 2009, dairy farmers across the country have been struggling to survive. For many years, New York was ranked third in the U.S. as one of the highest milk producing states. As of 2011, New York has lost that ranking. In 2009, there were 5,480 licensed dairy farms in the state of New York. In 2010 that number dropped to 5,380. Across the country there was a total loss of 1,805 dairy farms. This number is even greater when you look at the difference between 1992 and 2010. In 1992, there were a total of 131,509 dairy farms and in 2010 that number dropped to 53,127. That is a total loss of 78,382 dairy farms.

It has been stated since 2009 that we are in a dairy crisis. Here in New York, farmers, feed mills, utility companies, lending institutions, agricultural supply distributors, vets, rural governments and many others have felt the devastating effects of this crisis. Like myself, farmers realize that if New York would approve the SGEIS  and allow natural gas production to finally begin, how it would improve this dairy crisis that we all have been suffering for the past three years. It may be too late for my farm and countless others if something is not done soon, so lets get these regulations in place and start drilling in New York sooner than later. 3 1/2 years is long enough!

You can watch Lisa as she delivered this message at the first SGEIS hearing in Steuben County on November 16 in the following video.



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