Mountain States

Weld County Agriculture and Oil and Gas Industry Working Together

A new report from the Greeley Tribune highlights the strengthening ties between Weld County’s agriculture and oil and natural gas communities in recent years despite activist attempts to drive a wedge between the two natural allies.

With the Tribune noting that the relationship between the two industries was contentious in the 1980s and 1990s, Weld County farmer Dennis Hoshiko is cited reflecting on the progress that has been made toward working together with the oil and natural gas industry, noting that “It’s just night and day.”

According to the report, the strengthened relationship can be attributed to farmers and ranchers working together with the oil and natural gas industry to discuss impacts and solutions to potential issue areas. The article notes that these talks formed the foundation for a process that eventually resulted in the creation of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

The article attributes technological advancements in horizontal drilling for easing impacts to adjacent agricultural operations. Specifically, the article cites the ability of oil and natural gas developers to minimize their footprint of drilling operations. From the Greeley Tribune:

“In the days of vertical drilling, more well sites were needed to get at the shale formations that stretched for miles below the earth’s surface. But today, horizontal drilling allows one drill site to stretch out underground for miles, with those drilling sites also sitting in the corner of fields rather than being put smack-dab in the middle.”

The relationship between agriculture and oil and natural gas was also discussed during the recent Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force meetings. As Energy In Depth previously reported, representatives of the agricultural community were among the many voices championing the importance of the oil and natural gas industry. At a task force meeting in Greeley, Bill Jerke, a farmer, mineral owner, and former Weld County Commissioner, voiced his support for the industry:

“It seems that oil and gas has become agriculture’s best friend over the last 20 or 30 years here in Weld County. We have ups and downs all the time in agriculture. There’s nothing more helpful than being able to go to that mailbox and getting a royalty check. And that helps keep more people in agriculture and more people healthy economically, than crops, frankly, and livestock prices.”

That sentiment was echoed by Don Shawcroft, President of the Colorado Farm Bureau, who spoke at a rally outside of the task force meeting about the complementary relationship between agriculture and the oil and gas industry:

 “Weld County is number one in the state for agriculture and number eight in the nation. This is not in spite of oil and gas but in part because of it.”

The oil and natural gas industry has also been giving back to the agricultural community in other ways, as well. In fact, one company recently helped the Weld County Fair Junior Livestock Sale break the previous fundraising record. From the Greeley Tribune:

“As part of harnessing their relationships with agriculture, oil and gas companies also have made their presence known at community events. At this past summer’s Weld County Fair Junior Livestock Sale, Anadarko paid $18,500 to the youth who raised the grand champion beef winner, $15,000 to the swine winner and spent thousands more on other rural youth who raised winning livestock, helping the event raise nearly $800,000, shattering the record.”

The range of support being voiced for the industry shows that efforts to increase communication with stakeholders and representatives of local communities have paid off.


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