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Will fracking bring farmers a boom?

Will farmers benefit from the fracking boom?

Farmers in California may be among the first to realize measurable savings from the oil boom developing around fracking.

The shale fracturing process releases natural gas as well as oil, and most farmers can relate readily to the importance of natural gas to crop production.

Properly treated, natural gas yields significant amounts of nitrogen, and even nonfarmers know that nitrogen is the major ingredient in most fertilizers. A serious increase in the supply of natural gas is expected to result in lower costs of fertilizers across the board.

At least that is the conclusion of agricultural researchers Colin Carter and Kevin Novan in the Agricultural Resource and Economics Department of the University of California, Davis.

But their analysis doesn’t end with fertilizer supplies. It extends to the cost of irrigation water that farmers apply to their crops. Any saving in that department is especially significant for California farmers because California agriculture is predominantly irrigated agriculture.

For more, see: Ag at large: Oil boom promises savings for farmers


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