Farmers have been hammered by inflation and there is no end in sight

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 7:05 PM EDT
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ORWELL, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio’s farmers are trying to do the very difficult and important job of feeding the nation and are being hit, like everyone else, with skyrocketing prices and there does not appear to be any relief on the horizon.

Magyar Farms in Orwell, Ohio in Ashtabula County, grows corn and soybean on 3,000 acres, and they hosted Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted for a roundtable discussion of the financial issues that are making it difficult for farmers to do their jobs.

“Fertilizer has escalated 40 percent and diesel fuel has doubled in price,” said Rusty Goebel who farms land in Williams County and is the Vice President of the Ohio Soybean Association.

Goebel said that he will be lucky to break even this year and that breaking even is not sustainable for any business.

Lt. Governor Husted said the rising cost of diesel can be explained by President Biden’s campaign claim that he would make the country fossil fuel-free and the subsequent direct result of investment slowing in oil infrastructure and refinery.

Husted said he was here to listen and hoped that the DeWine administration’s H2Ohio initiative may help play a role in improving financial conditions for farmers.

“We are trying to help fund technologies that will reduce nitrogen and phosphorous run off into the lake which cause the algae blooms and that would also save money because they can apply less,” Husted said.

But Husted was quick to point out the reality that this was going to be a long-term process.

Jean Bratton is the CEO of the Centerra Co-op, a consortium of about 2,000 farmers formed for, among other reasons, to improve purchasing power.

But right now the price of diesel is choking the ability of farmers to get their jobs done considering they can’t do their jobs without diesel, and finding fertilizer and pest control products has been a problem at times.

“Definitely the worst I’ve seen in terms of prices and availability of product,” she said.

But Bratton said all is not lost, she believes product availability will improve by at least next year, even if diesel prices remain high.

Also, she has confidence the farmers will find a way to get the job done.

“Farmers are really resilient, they are good businessmen, so yes, times are tough but they are here trying to figure out the best way to grow crops to feed people,” Bratton said.

Diesel is averaging about $6.00 a gallon across the state, a year ago the average price for a gallon of diesel was $3.30.

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