Cash In on the Natural Gas Shale Boom

Lease payments and royalties have turned gas-rich regions into boomtowns. You could share in the windfall.

Jeff and Pamela Barnes of Lawrenceville, Pa., work a dairy farm in Tioga County that’s been in Jeff’s family for generations. A year ago, like so many farmers, they were juggling a lot of debt, sometimes scrimping to get by. “Before, if something broke, it was broke. There was no replacing it,” says Pamela. “Before” means before the royalty payments, which can range from $8,000 to $35,000 a month, for the natural gas extracted from the shale thousands of feet beneath the Barneses’ farm—and beneath much of Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and parts of Maryland and Ohio—that was deposited nearly 400 million years ago in the Marcellus Formation.

SEE ALSO: Investing in the Natural Gas Shale Boom

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Anne Kates Smith
Executive Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Anne Kates Smith brings Wall Street to Main Street, with decades of experience covering investments and personal finance for real people trying to navigate fast-changing markets, preserve financial security or plan for the future. She oversees the magazine's investing coverage,  authors Kiplinger’s biannual stock-market outlooks and writes the "Your Mind and Your Money" column, a take on behavioral finance and how investors can get out of their own way. Smith began her journalism career as a writer and columnist for USA Today. Prior to joining Kiplinger, she was a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report and a contributing columnist for TheStreet. Smith is a graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Md., the third-oldest college in America.