Hiring Professional Help Pays Off
Richard Burd operates a cash grain farm in Fayette County. He estimates that since April 2008, he has spent an hour each day researching the process of natural gas leasing. “I’ve kept up on what’s going on in the gas industry,” he says. “I’ve looked at different companies and tried to find good sources of information about how to go about leasing my land so we wouldn’t end up as one of the many horror stories we’ve heard about the things that can go bad when you lease your land for gas exploration.”
In the process of searching for reliable information, Burd turned to Cooperative Extension. After attending two extension workshops and consulting further with extension educators over the phone, he realized the importance of drawing up a lease with addenda that protected him, his farm, and the environment.
“I was hauling wheat in Mill Hall this past summer, and I stopped in and talked with Les Greevy, an attorney who participated in the extension meetings,” he says. “Our group of neighbors hired Les as our attorney, and he gave us a lot of real-world, practical education in a hurry. Working with a competent attorney who knows the language you need is really important.”
Burd and his group have not yet signed a natural gas lease; they are awaiting word from two gas companies who had presented tentative offers. Following extension’s advice to consult financial professionals, Burd met his accountant when he began researching gas leases, and he plans to hire a financial planner after signing a lease.
“I can’t overstate how important it is to get good, unbiased information. These are life-altering decisions we’re making. Someday my kids are going to inherit my successes as well as my mistakes, and I don’t want this gas leasing decision to be a mistake. Extension can do a lot for rural communities like ours, to help bring fairness and transparency to this whole process. I’ve really been grateful for what Penn State has done. They have hit a home run with their natural gas team.”