Carroll County Farm Finds Salvation in the Utica Shale Boom
In early 2010, Ballard Jenkins and his wife, Sharon, were preparing to sell the family’s 233 acres in Carroll County’s Washington Township and 70 cows at auction to pay off creditors. It was a tough time to be a dairy farmer.
“We were dying a little day by day,” he said.
Then landmen came into Ohio, bringing with them sweet financial offers for leasing mineral rights. They represented drilling companies in search of natural gas and oil deep underground in the Utica Shale formation. What transpired dramatically changed eastern Ohio — to the benefit of the Jenkinses and, with some exceptions, many others as well.
The Jenkins family sold its dairy cows, but the farm auction was postponed to see what a shale deal might provide.
Their first offer included a one-time signing bonus of $100 per acre. Said 68-year-old Ballard Jenkins: “That got my attention.” An offer of $250 an acre was “world-changing money.”
When the offer jumped to $1,200 an acre, Jenkins, for one, did not believe it. It seemed too good to be true.
The Jenkinses became part of a landowners’ group that in 2011 negotiated a $40 million agreement on 12,000 acres with Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy Corp. The landowners got a one-time signing bonus of $3,500 per acre. They are getting royalties of 20 percent on natural gas and liquids that wells produce.
“It’s like a fairy tale come true,” Jenkins said.Read the rest of this story by clicking here.
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