Study examines impact pipelines have on farm soil

What type of an impact does natural gas pipeline construction have on cropland productivity? This is the question being addressed by an Ohio State University study. Ohio Farm Bureau is a partner on the study, which is being overseen by the agricultural engineering faculty with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Starting this fall, researchers will begin identifying and sampling soil from farmers’ fields. Ohio Farm Bureau has been helping the college find farmers willing to participate in the study. Over the course of three years, college officials will survey and take samples from 50 fields statewide, mainly in rural areas. The samples will be taken before and after pipeline installation to see how pipelines affect the productivity of crops as well as determine the most effective remediation measures.

A $200,000 gift from Kinder Morgan helped kickstart the project. Ohio Farm Bureau plans to provide funding for the study as well as education and outreach to members, said Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of energy development.

“This will be an exhaustive study with a diverse group of stakeholders involved and should answer some of the questions raised by our members who are concerned about the impact of pipelines on their land and in their communities,” Arnold said.