“The prices for our feed and labor have skyrocketed. It’s gone up significantly,” Dan Jones, a poultry farmer, told NBC Sacramento last week.
“It’s such a volatile market right now,” Matt Miles, an Arkansas soybean farmer, told Modern Farmer this year. “There’s no guarantee of anything being a sure thing anymore. That’s the scary part.”
“There has been a much higher cost to irrigate because it is all done using diesel pumps,” Peter Le Maistre, president of the Jersey Farmers’ Union, told the Jersey Evening Post on Monday. “We have to water all the vegetable crops right now and, with fuel costs, it’s an expensive business.”
As the Biden administration brags about lowering gas prices a few cents a gallon, diesel prices remain stubbornly high. Diesel fuel is now averaging $5.50 a gallon nationally — skyrocketing 68% from a year ago when it was only $3.27.
And farmers throughout the supply-chain use diesel — from harvesting hay to producing grain, to feeding poultry and other livestock — all of their costs are going up.
“People pay less attention to diesel prices because people aren’t going to the pump and using it,” Matt Smith, a lead oil analyst at Kpler, a research firm, told The Associated Press this week. “But diesel has a more far-reaching impact and is already having a real big impact across the economy.”
“If you’re a farmer, then your energy costs are higher, and therefore it’s costing more to produce grain, and that’s pushing the price of grain up, and that’s pushing the price of food up,” Mr. Smith explained to the AP.
Why are diesel prices not declining? Well, OPEC nations have slowed their supply of oil. They produce more diesel fuel than parts of America. China has also limited its diesel exports.
Refineries in the U.S. that turn oil into diesel are at capacity, and none can come online without significant investment from Wall Street or the Biden administration.
President Biden has explicitly said he wants to phase out fossil fuels completely. So why would Wall Street invest in an industry the White House vows to bankrupt in the coming years? And even if they were to, where are the pipelines and transport capacity to ship such fuel once produced? Mr. Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office and is slow-walking other such permits throughout the nation.
This month, Mr. Biden went to Saudi Arabia to beg them to pump more oil. He came back empty-handed.
So what are farmers to do?
“We have no option but to buy the fuel at the high price,” Don Cameron, vice president of Terranova Ranch near Fresno, California, told AgriPulse last month. “Then try and get back wherever we can, but that’s pretty hard to do.”
This week, according to the Biden administration, you should celebrate gas is costing you $35 less a month — at $4.36 a gallon, it’s still the highest on record under any other administration. And as for your food concerns? Don’t expect those prices to be coming down anytime soon.
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