PA Farmers Call on Gov. Wolf to Stop Fracking

At the January 9 opening ceremonies of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, a group of farmers delivered a letter to Governor Tom Wolf urging him to protect Pennsylvania’s agricultural communities by stopping fracking. The letter, which was supported by Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, was signed by over 140 farmers and owners of food-related businesses.

Pennsylvanians Against Fracking held a rally at the farm show with over 100 attendees from around the state. Farmers’ testimonials were read by rally participants. Read them here – Farmer Statements.

Click here to view the letter in PDF format

Farmers: you can add your name to the letter by clicking here.


January 9, 2016


The Honorable Tom Wolf


Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

225 Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120


Dear Governor Wolf,

We, the concerned farmers of Pennsylvania, begin this letter with both hope and fear. Our hopes are that you will read the following with careful consideration and that our heartfelt sentiments will reach you. Our fears are for our way of life, which many of us find to be balancing precariously in the face of destructive activities like hydraulic fracturing and the looming threat of climate change. It is hard not to feel like the odds are stacked against us -with the scale of gas development and its swiftness in encompassing our communities. Faced with big industries with deep pockets as unwelcome neighbors, moving in whether you have leased your land or not there seems to be little we can do. With that in mind we are turning to our government, again with the hope that our voices do matter, that our concerns will be taken seriously and our Governor will prove himself to be for the people.

As you well know, Pennsylvania has a long history of agriculture, one in which all Pennsylvanians take much pride. Many farms in our beautiful state have been in families for generations and there is a strong movement today among young adults to turn back to the land. Young or old, all farmers are facing new challenges in an era where climate change is not right around the corner – indeed it has arrived and is already making itself known! Many of us have taken on the challenge of organic agriculture not only to provide healthy food to our neighbors but also to help restore the soil and reduce climate-changing practices like the use of fossil fuel fertilizers, monoculture crops and barren fields.

One of the major industries contributing to climate change is also booming in our state – hydraulic fracturing. To some those two words might sound like profit, but to many farmers those same words are tantamount to a death sentence.

When you think of a Pennsylvania farm, what comes to mind? Is it rolling fields, dotted with cows contentedly grazing, rows of corn shooting towards a clear blue sky? An old house with ducks in the nearby pond and a happy farm dog sprawled in the yard? Or is it a loud, busy, filthy, explosive industrial site, a looming oil derrick, a night sky lit up with malodorous, toxic gas flaring, all stars obliterated by light pollution? The latter is a fear for many farmers, and an unfortunate reality for many others.

It’s not just a disruption of the picturesque dream that’s the problem. There is no question that people living near gas operations are being exposed to dangerous pollutants. Fracking activities have been proven to have very real and dangerous consequences for those living or working nearby.

  • Air Quality – A study, An Exploratory Study of Air Quality near Natural Gas Operations , found 44 hazardous chemicals in the air, many of which cause cancer and damage to the brain, nervous system lungs, kidneys, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, genes, liver, immune system, skin, eyes and other parts of the body. The negative health effects are frightening. There is now a significant body of scientific, medical, and journalistic findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking.
  • Water Quality – For a farmer, clean water is the basic necessity. However, with the fracking we have seen known carcinogens injected through our aquifers or sitting in frack ponds. Known endocrine disruptors make up around 40% of the chemicals added to fracking fluids. Leaks, spills, and unintended releases are abundant. Due to the growing periods of drought from climate change, farmers increasingly need to irrigate our crops. Animals need abundant supplies of pure water. If a farmer can’t be sure of their water, they can’t be sure of the quality of their products or their ability to continue to farm.
  • Food Safety – Our food safety is in question around fracking sites. “There are a variety of organic compounds, metals and radioactive material that are of human health concern when livestock meat or milk is ingested,” says Motoko Mukai, a veterinary toxicologist at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Chemicals used in the fracturing process can leach into the groundwater and soil, poisoning livestock and farmer alike. When toxic components spread out, they aren’t just sitting in stasis – the plants and insects exposed to these toxins absorb them, and they slowly work their way up the food chain, accumulating in the bodies of larger animals like cows and fish faster than their natural filters can keep up with. When we eat meat from an animal that is fed on contaminated grasses and feed, we risk those toxins making their way into us.
  • Business Concerns – Farmers who are certified organic face the loss of their market and their certifications when toxic industries move in next door. Customers who value the quality of their food are unwilling to take a chance on milk, meat or produce grown next to industrial sites. The pipelines, compressor stations, and traffic that go along with the natural gas industry all have their own hazards – explosions, evacuations, gas leaks, and illegal dumping are par for the course but they are not risks that we should be forced to endure. Farmers conforming to organic practices know that they cannot use chemically-treated fence posts because the chemicals will leach into the soil and become a part of the forage our animals consume. How much worse is it that tons of toxic chemicals are allowed to be emitted from fracking well sites and other infrastructure to settle on our pastures?
  • Climate Change – Hydraulic fracturing is causing problems to farmers every day, but as a major contributor to climate change the natural gas industry is leading us even further into a climate crisis where the farmer will be the first to feel the effects. Our livelihoods depend on the already hard to predict whims of nature, the thought of shifting seasons, droughts paired with torrential downpours, severe storms, and other extreme weather events is beyond frightful. Irregular temperature fluctuations have increasingly cost fruit farmers their crops, and have made it harder to plan planting and harvest times. New pest problems, like the spotted wing drosophila and the massive rise in tick populations, and diseases are cropping up as our state’s climate slowly shifts. Farmers see small but significant changes like these every year, and they are becoming more numerous and obvious.
  • Health impacts, present now and yet to come – Farmers living near well sites (as well as many others in rural gas fields that have sprung up around their homes) are suffering right now from health impacts almost too numerous to mention. The studies, many of them now Pennsylvania-specific, are piling up and finding again and again that people’s’ children are getting a poor start in life if they live near well pads, and that neurological and cardiovascular and dermatological problems are more prevalent and growing near fracking sites. A comprehensive health impact study is needed, and the opportunity for doing that study is ripe with 10 years of hospital and insurance data from the fracked areas already in hand, yet you refuse to order such a health impacts study. That makes many of us out on the farms next to fracking feel like we are asked to sacrifice our health and even our lives for the sake of a few large corporations profiting from fracking.

Governor Wolf – we, the farmers of Pennsylvania, are asking you to show your good judgment and commitment to the well-being of Pennsylvanian citizens and look at the facts. Stop the drilling! Bring in jobs for clean energy solutions, stop the cycle of fossil fuel consumption.



Stephen Cleghorn

Paradise Gardens and Farm

Reynoldsville, PA


Meg Weidenhof

Tait Farm

State College, PA


Barbara Gerlach

Berry Fields Farm

New Albany, PA


Charles Gerlach

Berry Fields Farm

New Albany, PA




Jenny Lisak

Ladybug farm

Punxsutawny, PA


David Hopey

Tait Farm Foods

Centre Hall, PA


Janis Copenhaver

Kathtahdin Saluki Land

Reynoldsvile, PA


Ron Gulla

Gulla Farm

Cannonsburg, PA


Cynthia Myers-Long

Vultures Roost

Doylestown, PA


Laura Jackson


Merion, PA


Dana Hunting

Anchor Run CSA

Newtown, PA


Derek McGeehan

Anchor Run CSA

Newtown, PA


T.Lyle Ferderber

Frankferd Farms

Valencia, PA


David Dietz

Dietz Produce

York, PA


Beth Voyles

Justa Breeze Farm

Washington, PA


Carolyn Knapp

Knapp Farm/Knapp Time Acres

Ulster, PA


Deirdre Lally

Endless Mountains Farm

Benton, PA


Carrie Hahn

Stone Soup Farm

Volant, PA


Jeanette Van Zanten Stump

Little Mill Creek

Ridgway, PA


Jim Powell

Powell farm

Washington, PA


Carol French

Tinket Farm

Ulster, PA


Nancy Chubb

Returning Home Farm

Verona, PA


Chris Brittenburg

Who Cooks For You Farm

New Bethlehem, PA


Kosta Bounos

Bountiful Earth Farm

Allison Park, PA


Maria Kretschman

Kretschman Family Farm

Rochester, PA


Barbara Jarmoska

Possibilities Retreat

Montoursville, PA


Georgann Kovacovsky

Family Farm

New Bethlehem, PA


Don Kretschmann

Kretschmann Farm

Rochester, PA


Brad Berry

Snipes Farm and Education Center

Morrisville, PA


Roz Schira

Legacy Springs

Slatington, PA




Michael Shaw


Kutztown, PA


Robyn Jasko

Homesweet Homegrown, LLC

Kutztown, PA


Virginia Phillips

Slow Food Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA


Paige Persky

Homesweet Homegrown

Kutztown, PA


Jan Akeroyd

Woodsong Hollow Farm

Boyertown, PA


Florence Rodale

Floreant Projects/the Lavender Farmette

Emmaus, PA


Bryn Ashburn

Greensgrow Farms

Philadelphia, PA


M.E. Lauver

Farm in the Hollow

Lewisburg, PA


Matt Steiman

Dickinson College Farm

Boiling Springs, PA


Susan Snipes-Wells

Snipes Farm

Morrisville, PA


Kathy Greenwood

Greenwood Farm



Don and Carol Johnson

Johnson Farm

Wellsboro, PA


Claire Orner

Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living

Brookville, PA


Rusty Orner

Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living

Brookville, PA


Sherry Trunzo

Windy Hill Farm

Brockway, PA


Dale Allen

Sweetbriar Farms

Wellsboro, PA


George Miklasevich

Miklasevich Farm

Pulaski, PA


David Harder

Nature’s Way

Easton, PA


Lynn Prior

Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley

Easton, PA


Jim Crawford

New Morning Farm

Hustontown, PA


Lisa Miskelly

Good Work Farm

Zionsville, PA





Linda Headley

Headleys Family Farm

Smithfield, PA


David Headley

Headleys Family Farm

Smithfield, PA


Steven Kostis

The Kostis Family Jessup Farm of Montrose

Montrose, PA


Alan Hillyard

Brother Natures Place

Tidioute, PA


Ola Creston

Taproot Farm

Shoemakersville, PA


Elizabeth Donohoe


Forest Hills, PA


Tara Rockacy

Churchview Farm LLC

Pittsburgh, PA


Mary Ann Oyler

Oyler’s Organic Farms

Biglerville, PA


Dianne Burg

Healthy Alternatives

Trexlertown, PA


Terry Brett

Kimberton Whole Foods

Phoenixville, PA


william elkins

Buck Run Land & Catlle Co.

  1. Fallowfield, PA



Inga Jensen

Stinga Jenulli Trou Ranch

Tarentum, PA


Thomas Motta

Allegheny City Farms

Pittsburgh, PA


Patricia Haverstick

Lemon Street Market

Lancaster, PA


jonathan snipes

Snipes Farm and Education Center

Morrisville, PA


Joseph Bozzelli

Five Elements Farm

Worthington, PA


Toria Harr

Snipes Farm and Education Center

Morrisville, PA


Robin Hoy

Wrightstown Farmers Market

Wrightstown, PA


Regina Anderson

Starry Sky Farm LLC

Pittsburgh, PA


Karin Hulme

Home owner

Stroudsburg, PA


Dana Hunting

Anchor Run CSA

Newtown, PA


Brad Berry

Snipes Farm and Education Center

Morrisville, PA


Michael Podlogar

Elmdale Farms

Bechtelsville, PA


Marion menapace

Shady Creek

Catawissa, PA


Linda Quodomine

Quodomine Veterinary Services, Inc.

Bloomsburg, PA


Betty Ferderber

Frankferd Farms Foods, Inc.

Valencia, PA


Janet Niemiec

Nieniecs Farm

Winfield, PA


Jeff Giger

Givers Farm

Bloomsburg, PA


Cheryl Thomas

Cheryl Tho

Duke Center, PA


susan folk

Sons Farm

Dingmans Ferry, PA


Guy Wagner

Wagner Farms

Bethlehem, PA


Maryanne Stein

AbsolutelyAlpacas & Llamas

Mercer, PA


Rex Stein

AbsolutelyAlpacas & Llamas

Mercer, PA


Rachelle Marsteller

AbsolutelyAlpacas & Llamas

Sandy Lake, PA


Emma Marsteller

AbsolutelyAlpacas & Llamas

Sandy Lake, PA


Leigha Marsteller

AbsolutelyAlpacas & Llamas

Sandy Lake, PA


Alexa Marsteller

AbsolutelyAlpacas & Llamas

Sandy Lake, PA


Maggie Henry

The Farmer’s Wife. Henry Family Farms

Karthaus, PA


Roy Christman

Christman Farm

Lehighton, PA


John Walker

Family Farm

Bloomsburg, PA


Kimberly Ditzler

One Bar Farm

Sinking Spring, PA


Richard Carey

Tamanend Wine Inc.

Lancaster, PA


Melody Fleck

Hickory Haven

Pine Grove Mills, PA


Sarah Everett

EvereBreeze Orchard

Uniondale, PA


Cathie Forman


Southampton, PA


Sheila Russell

Russell Sprouts Farm

Rome, PA


Bill Hahn

Stone Soup Farm

Volant, PA


Joe Bezjack

Bezjack Farm

Fayette, PA


Jane Kirk

Matheis Farm

Erie, PA


Cynthia Beck

Peace by Piece Farm on Boyd Run

Waterford, PA


Greg Boulos

Blackberry Meadows Farm

Natrona Heights, PA


Don Kretschmann

Kretschmann Farm

Rochester, PA


Emma and Gary Puskarich

Puskarich farm

Scenery Hill, PA


George Watson

Watson Farm



Brion Vallone

Dilligaf Estates

Hellertown, PA


Wayne and Angel Smith

Family Farm

Clearville, PA


Pennie Christie

Cherish Creamery

Reynoldsville, PA


Ernest Mattiuz

Mattiuz Farm

Kersey, PA


Andrea Fox

Fox family

Kintnersville, PA


Melanie Douty-Snipes

Snipes Farm and Education Center

Morrisville, PA


Susan Berger

Susan Berger Health and Nutrition

Pittsburgh, PA


Leah Zerbe

Potter’s Farm

Pine Grove, PA


Randi Rubin

Golden Years Management

New Kensington, PA


Sherry Rogers-Frost

Creekside Farm

Fairfield, PA



Truth’s Tranquil Acres

Newport, PA


Heather & Jeremy Sienkiewicz

H&J Ranch

Mifflinburg, PA




Chad Christopher

Woods drive farm

Bulger, PA


Helen Elkins

Buck Run Farm

Coatesville, PA


George Brittenburg

Taproot Farm

Shoemakersville, PA


Lois Krozier

Little Bear Creek Alpalca

Kane, PA


Linda Burns

Heritage Farms

Ridgeway, PA


Greg Burns

Heritage Farms

Ridgeway, PA


Winifred Flynn

Abundant Acres

East Berlin, PA


Sten Carlson

Borland Garden Cooperative

Pittsburgh, PA


Michael and sharon Bennett

Bennett Farms

Reynoldsville, PA


Susan Cindric

Cindric Farm

Rochester Mills, PA


Michael and Ann Dougherty

Dougherty Farm

Reynoldsville, PA


Stanley Hasley

Hasley Farm

Greene County, PA


Leonard Bercosky

Bercosky Farm

Marianna, PA


Kathy McGovern

Pichel’s Farms

Hellertown, PA


Michael Kiefer

Kiefer’s Nurseries

Hellertown, PA


Shaun O’Brien

Snipes Farm and Education Center

Morissville, PA


Mike Tierney

Birchwood Farms

Newtown, PA


Jeff Wolfson

The Healthy Grocer, Inc.

Camp Hill, PA


Michael Mance

Organic vegetable gardener

Export, PA


David and Lois Oleksa

Gill O’er the Ground

Durham, PA


Pam Judy

Judy Farm

Carmichael, PA


Sandy Folzer

Weavers Way Environmental Committee

Philadelphia, PA




Suzanne Matteo


West Middlesex, PA


Jane Dugdale

Doubledale Farm

Phoenixville, PA