News

Natural gas infrastructure a priority for rural Ontarians, survey says (2013)

By Mark Wales, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Ontario farmers who don’t have access to natural gas on the farm want the infrastructure in place to make it happen, says a recent survey conducted by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). That’s because the appeal of natural gas for use in Ontario homes – its affordability, cleanliness, safety and convenience – extends to Ontario farm businesses. And the cost savings associated with heating hog or poultry barns or operating a greenhouse can be a make-or-break scenario for farm profitability.

Over the last five years, the price for natural gas has dropped dramatically. Natural gas is nearly half the cost of electricity, and nearly one-third the cost of propane. While almost all Ontario cities have natural gas connections to homes and businesses, fewer than 20% of Ontario farms have access to natural gas. This puts farms and towns without gas at a disadvantage, and hinders rural economic development because businesses are reluctant to set up shop in a community that depends on costly electric and oil heat.

OFA’s natural gas survey was conducted online in March 2013. More than 400 surveys were completed, and OFA continues to receive regular feedback from members interested in the issue of natural gas infrastructure. Among the findings, OFA researchers also uncovered a subsection of farm businesses that have a gas line on their road but no connection to the farm. These farmers cite significant up-front costs associated with paying to install the services as a major barrier to accessing the natural gas. For farms with lengthy laneways, connecting to existing gas lines can cost up to $20,000 or more, according to the OFA.

OFA will use the information gathered in this survey and from other sources to bolster rural Ontario’s case for natural gas infrastructure. Moving forward, we are committed to working with the gas utilities and governments on programs to deliver natural gas lines to some of the more than 500,000 rural and small town Ontario residents who live on roads without natural gas. Supporting the extension of gas will provide savings in the countryside that will be reinvested there, helping to create profitable and sustainable farms.

For more information contact:

Mark Wales
President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-773-6706 

Neil Currie
General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 



Comments

Ken Britton says on May 10, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Thankyou for addressing this problem. I don't remember filling out a survey. I must have missed it as I would like to see somthing done about it. We looked into it 15 or more years ago and my cost would have been $10,000 then. Now my neighbour wished we had done it and is considering it now.


Ontario Federation of Agriculture says on May 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Mr. Britton, We appreciate your feedback and interest in natural gas energy. In regards to the natural gas survey we conducted, the OFA research team developed a summary of results highlighting the information we received from our members. You can access the document on the homepage of our website under OFA Matters by clicking on the link titled, OFA Natural Gas Survey - Summary of Results.


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