The first in American Gas Association’s Advancing America series, “Advancing America’s Agriculture: The Value of Natural Gas to U.S. Agriculture and Agrochemicals” examines the importance of natural gas to a healthy agriculture sector. Here is an excerpt:
“The American farmer relies on domestic natural gas for the fertilizer in their fields, the fuel to run their equipment, and energy to process, store and transport our nation's food supply to feed 330 million Americans, in addition to the countless individuals overseas, who depend on U.S. agricultural exports.”
The recently published study examines the direct and critical impact that the availability of low-cost natural gas has on the cost of food. Restrictions or outright bans on natural gas would have broad and devastating implications for the sector including supply chain disruptions, land value impacts, an increased reliance on agricultural imports from China and Russia and higher consumer costs passed on to consumers.
Key findings of the report include:
U.S. agriculture is one of the largest natural gas consumers, consuming roughly 1.7 trillion cubic feet (“Tcf”) of natural gas – equivalent to almost 15% of all U.S. commercial and industrial consumption.
Producing fertilizer and other agrochemicals is the most significant consumer of natural gas in the agriculture supply chain.
Between 70% and 80% of the energy used to produce critical fertilizers comes from natural gas.
The U.S. agriculture sector supports 17.2 million jobs and approximately $1.75 trillion in U.S. GDP, roughly equivalent to the entire GDP of Texas.
Global agricultural production is becoming ever more energy intensive. Consequently, the need for secure and affordable natural gas supplies is greater than ever. Natural gas is a critical domestically produced feedstock for the agriculture industry, allowing the United States to manufacture vital fertilizers and other agricultural inputs at competitive prices. In so doing, natural gas is a vital part of shielding our farmers from supply-chain bottlenecks, ensuring bountiful crop yields, and buttressing global food security.
One can draw a direct line from the availability of low-cost natural gas to the cost of food on grocery store shelves globally. Any attempt to ban or restrict access to natural gas would drive up energy prices directly and other critical products like food.