Oil prices hurt south GA farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Oil prices hurt south GA farmers

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November 9, 2007

Valdosta - First the freeze, then the drought and fires all making it a hard year for farmers.

But now the price of oil is effecting them as well.  "Its effecting the bottom line," says Van Murphy, the General Manager at BCT Gin in Quitman.  "Costs of production has gone up and every phase of everything we buy, anything we have delivered here, anything that's made from petroleum products has gone drastically up."

Because they use petroleum-based products in almost everything they do.  "We haul all the cotton up to the gins in trucks and that diesel cost has gone up as well as all the harvest the farmers do is operated by machinery that is operated by diesel," Murphy adds.

They say the price of oil has increased four times compared to what it was just five years ago, so it will be harder for them to turn a profit.

And forcing some farmers to take some drastic measures. "They are switching over to an enterprise that's less demanding as far as energy is concerned," says Lowndes County Extension Agent Mickey Fourakers.

But that will also costs them time and money.  "You have to revamp your equipment, also your labor involved but it takes a lot of planning to switch from one enterprise to another," Fourakers says.

The ever fluctuating price of oil makes it hard for them to plan ahead but they say they'll take the winter to regroup and see how they can cut costs next season.

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