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Farmers Worried about Rising Input Costs

“I’ve been farming on my own since the early eighties, and since the early eighties I have never, ever seen a situation like what we have now," said Canyon County farmer Sid Freeman, who farms 250 acres just outside Middleton in southwest Idaho.

“I grow sugar beets, onions, seed beans, and wheat and grain corn.” “And each and every one of them has a slate of inputs that we use in those.”

Sid’s concerned that supply chain problems and cost increases for fuel, fertilizer and other chemicals will have a big impact on next year’s season.

“You’ve got many different types of synthetic chemicals that we use for herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and all of that. And one element that misses for us to be able to put that on after we’ve put everything into it, and if we are not able to get our fungicide on and we have a situation there it could destroy that crop after we have already put all the input costs into it.”

“Our whole scheme is to control all the variables that we can, and in order to do that there’s all these elements of inputs at the right time, at the right amounts, and if you get the timing wrong or the amounts wrong you may have wasted your whole year on that crop.”

“And I’m pretty worried about whether we’re gonna have all the inputs that we normally need to grow the crops in the manner in which we normally grow them.”

And he’s not alone. According to a poll released by Purdue University, many farmers are worried about large increases in input costs.

Purdue said, “43% of respondents said they expect farm input prices to rise by more than 16% in the upcoming year.” “Although much of the attention on increasing input costs has focused on this year’s dramatic rise in fertilizer prices, virtually all other input costs ranging from farm machinery to seed and fuel are on the upswing as well.”

While the US Department of Agriculture is forecasting an increase in net cash farm income nationally, the regional outlook is mixed. Here in Idaho the forecast is for a decline in income. Add to that inflation at the highest level in decades.

Sid says he’s looking at the possibility of stocking up on extra fuel and Round Up.

“If the prices continue to drive upward, and then availability is also not there… I don’t know, you might see guys electing not to grow anything.”

For the voice of Idaho Agriculture, I’m Paul Boehlke.