High fuel costs top priority for farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

High fuel costs top priority for farmers

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

July 18, 2008

LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) South Georgia farmers say high fuel prices are their number one concern as harvest time approaches. They say record petroleum prices have caused almost everything they use to grow crops to skyrocket in price, and pass even rain as their top worry.

 More than 60 farmers from eight counties in South Georgia gathered at Tri-County Ag in Smithville for an appreciation lunch from the business. 

But the main topic of conversation by these growers was not rain. Tri County Ag Co Owner Eddie Sholar said, "Talking about the fuel prices. Needing some help with high fuel costs."

Oil prices have hit the farmers hard, not only for diesel to run tractors and irrigation machines, even the fertilizer and chemicals they spray on crops are petroleum based, and have also skyrocketed in price.

 Now another problem as harvest time approaches. Farmers are having trouble hiring the trucks they need to haul their crops to market, because many independent truckers have shut down because of fuel costs.  

Sholar said "He needs a trucker when crops go to coming in. We have to have a truck to get the products to the farm. If we don't get some relief on these fuel prices,we are going to have less and less independent truckers in the area."

State Senate Candidate Wally Roberts talked with farmers about their concerns.  District 13 Candidate Wally Roberts said "Farming is the livelihood of the United States, Lee County, and the surrounding area. We don't need much to hurt the farmers."

Farmers say Americans are now seeing how important farming is to national security, because of the energy crisis.  Ron Lee of Lee Brothers Farm said "I think the consumers are now seeing what might happen if we got in the same shape depending on foreign sources of food, as we are on foreign sources of oil. And we don't want to be in that position."

 The farmers continue to pray for rain, but fuel prices are their number one topic of concern as harvest begins.

Farmers said possible new water regulations from Atlanta and Washington, D. C. are another concern they are all talking about.

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