Dennis Sun: Thank a farmer or rancher, they’re not causing high food prices

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Cattle Rally

In agriculture, one of the major tasks in the spring is the spreading of fertilizer on hay or crop fields. This year, with inflation soaring and drought looming, tough decisions are being made daily.

In our region, native hay and alfalfa are major crops for farmers and ranchers. With more than two years of drought, supplies of hay and alfalfa are virtually non-existent, or the cost of $250 to $300 a ton puts it out of reach for many. Remember that these crops, as well as all other crops, are commodities and the asking prices are based on supply and demand.

With other crops, the need for fertilization is great for higher yields, so the plants are not so expensive to grow and harvest. Without a constant supply of water this summer, growers would waste fertilizer. Growers won’t get much harvest if the drought continues all summer.

As you might guess, I’m not writing this column for those in agriculture, but to help consumers understand why grocery store prices are so high. Please don’t blame the farmers and ranchers for the high prices, most of the causes are beyond their control.

Don’t forget that we are in a global market. We are all aware of the costs of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian corn, wheat and barley. Ukrainian farmers do not know if they will be able to produce a crop this summer and if they will be able to export it.

Ukrainian farmers are important players in world grain markets and can make a difference. We also realize that Russia will also not be able to export its grain harvest this summer. Other countries to watch are India, Brazil, Australia and, of course, China.

Our president was in Iowa recently raising the limit on ethanol in gasoline, which will drive up the price of corn, so corn products will cost more at the grocery store and at feedlots. for cattle breeders. With the decline in the number of cattle and hogs, coupled with rising corn prices, the cost of meat will certainly increase.

Maize belt farmers plant less maize because maize needs more fertilizer than other crops. Instead, they plant more soybeans. It will be interesting to see how the prediction plays out. As with fertilizer prices, other rising costs for farmers and ranchers are mainly caused by inflation.

Inflation, by definition, is the measure of the rise in prices of goods and services in an economy. It is caused by rising production costs or rapidly increasing demand. Rising food prices are justified by the two forces of inflation. Rising commodity prices and shortages, rising transportation costs, labor shortages and import delays all increase production costs for farmers and ranchers.

Coupled with rising global demand, there are subsequent increases in commodity prices. Forecasters say there is strong fundamental support for higher input prices.

It’s like we’re in a perfect storm, you can dodge part of it, but part of it will get you. You can’t control it, but you feel it.

This summer may be tough for farmers and ranchers, but they have weathered every other tough year and will again. Think of them when shopping.

the Wyoming Cattle Roundup is a weekly farm newspaper available online and in print. To subscribe, visit wylr.net or call 800-967-1647.

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