Farmers worry over rising production costs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers worry over rising production costs

April 2, 2004

Calhoun County -- The rising cost of petroleum is hitting South Georgia farmers, during their spring planting season. It's not only the fuel costs, but other products farmers must use have soared in price.

Calhoun County farmer Jimmy Webb gets ready to disc in fertilizer on a field he will soon plant with cotton. But that fertilizer costs ten to 18 dollars more per acre this year because of higher oil prices. Webb said "It's definitely going to hurt us. Fertilizer is a by product of petroleum products. Right now I'm paying 15 to 20 dollars more per acre on my corn fertilizer I've already put out. We haven't starting applying peanut or cotton fertilizer yet, but I know it's going to be at least that much or more."

 Most of the chemicals and fertilizers farmers use are petroleum based, and the price has soared. Tractors also cost more. Webb said "The difference in the tractor in one year, identical tractor, is twenty-thousand dollars. Why? Steel prices have really jumped up."

While diesel is only about a nickle a gallon higher, it'll take more of it if farmers have to run diesel-fueled irrigation systems. Webb said "It's not going to go down.OPEC said they are going to cut production even more, so that is going to hurt all of us."

The good news: peanuts and corn should bring a better price this year, to at least hopefully help offset the rising production costs.

Corn is bringing about 3.35 a bushel. That is 85 cents higher than last year.

posted at 4:19 PM by jimw@walb.com