Shale benefits evident at fair

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As the Columbiana County Fair celebrates its 168th year, it is also welcoming the benefits from the oil and gas industry.

The fairgrounds got a big boost when it leased its mineral rights and a signing bonus brought in an extra $200,000 that went toward infrastructure updates. New money is also coming to other parts of the county.

The Columbiana County Farm Bureau is set up at the fair and that’s where you’ll find member Zeb Locklear. Locklear said over the last few years, the leases definitely helped the local farmers make a comeback.

“Farming was really down. The economy was down,” said Locklear. “When the farmers received this money, they were able to go out and replace most of their machinery.”

Just down the midway from the Farm Bureau, Richard Lippiatt with Buckeye Mineral Development welcomed fair goers with any questions they may have.

“We’re here to continue to keep the people informed about any questions they have,” said Lippiatt. “Right now, we’re doing a lot of negotiating on pipeline and also water rights.”

Most recently in Columbiana County, the first phase of a billion dollar gas processing plant went online. The NiSource M-3 LLC facility in Kensington is expected to process as much as 60 million cubic feet of gas every day and employ 1,000 workers.

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