I have a house in upstate New York that’s been in my family since the early 1950s. It is smack in the middle of dairy farmland in a very depressed area of Sullivan County. Farm families that have been our neighbors for decades are very excited about signing the leases offered by the drilling companies that want to frack their land. My own next door neighbor is one of them. I can’t blame them: After years of being treated poorly by big dairy and the dairy board, and not getting nearly enough money for their milk, they are desperate for cash. What they can’t see is that drilling will spell the end of farming. There may be some short-term profits, but in the end, the organic farms and added-value product producers will just move or decide they can’t hack it anymore. That terrible possibility will happen long before the drillers are gone.
Please go to the farmers you know and ask them what they need to strengthen their businesses so that they don’t need that lease. Talk to cooks and food producers around you and become more educated together. Help farmers find better ways to ensure their future. Most important, please write to Governor Cuomo to tell him that you support our farmers and want to protect their livelihood from fracking! — Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez, PRINT.