Rising Fuel Costs Hurt Farmers

By: Meg Gatto Email
By: Meg Gatto Email

The rising fuel costs are putting a strain on many people in the Valley, including farmers who are struggling to put fuel in farming equipment they need to get around their fields.

Farmers James Pruitt says, "Basically we are writing bigger checks. You can't stop farming, you gotta keep going."

That's the sentiment shared by many looking at the new farming equipment on display at the Virginia Farm Show this year. Vendors ready to sell say making a new purchase is not a reality considering the rising costs with which everyone is dealing.

"The price of equipment's going up just like the price of fuel, so you just got to stick with what you got unless it gets older," says Pruitt. "I don't see any difference really. They're not going to save you that much."

Some farmers, like Steve Rodgers, say there is something they can do to defray costs. He uses a no-till system that saves gas and money.

"There’s no erosion when you leave your crop on the ground and the biggest advantage is it just you're running a lot less equipment and you're burning a lot less fuel and man hours and equipment time," says Rodgers.

While no-till works for Rodgers, Pruitt doesn't see any way to cut costs on his farm and he says that these prices will eventually start taking a serious toll.

"I can't see cutting back, doing anything different. You got to have your fuel. You got to have your equipment," says Pruitt. "I mean, there’s nothing much else you can do."

Another hot issue at this year's Farm Show is the price of fertilizer, which is also taking a chunk out of farmer's wallets. One farmer has switched to using manure from his cows to reduce his spending on fertilizer, but he says it's not making that big a difference to his budget.

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