Growing fuel prices take toll on farming
'Everything is so expensive right now. The main reason is because of the cost of fuel. That drives the cost of everything up,' says Joe Kriegel, a farmer from Iowa. With the fuel price surge, everything else has doubled or tripled in price. Fertilisers, equipment, and other supplies now eat up the bulk of the farmers’ budgets. They say next year is looking even less promising.
'I’ve noticed in the grocery store that a lot of these prices are up to 25–30% already. And with high fertiliser and energy prices, you know, they will stay high. With the fertilizer being twice as high as what it is normally that probably alone adds, you know, 10 or 15% to the cost of that product going in the grocery store', comments Jeff Buresh, owner of BRT&Turf.
Farmers say excessive COVID 19 measures disrupting the supply chains are commonly blamed for the skyrocketing prices, but many argue the US government is responsible. 'In his campaign speeches, he [Biden] was trying to pander to his woke crowd and he said, ‘There's no room for fossil fuel in this administration if I get elected,’' says Robert Streit, an agronomist of Central Iowa Agronomics.
Windmills and solar energy will not cover the existing energy needs and farmers think the US should 'start drilling our oil again. We can drill for oil. And for some reason, our government thinks that we shouldn't be using our own oil, which is crazy. You got the environmentalists and all that, trying to stop it. So what do we do? I don't think electric cars is going solve the problem,' argues Joe Kriegel.
Though the farmers have found themselves in dire straits, many of the families have worked the land for over a century and they‘ve been through a lot of crises. They believe they will pull through this crisis as well.
What is their survival strategy?