Gas and oil prices have been the topic of conversation over the last few weeks. Now, gas prices in many states have far surpassed $4.00 per gallon, with some even reaching $5.00 or more. Sky-high prices have majorly inconvenienced the majority of Americans. However, our nation’s farmers have warned that surging oil prices are draining the “lifeblood of the American farmer.” Here’s why.
At a Glance:
- Oil prices prove detrimental to American farmers and family-owned businesses.
- Inflation prices heavily translate to American consumers.
- Surge in wages make retaining farm laborers difficult.
Farmers Struggle to Maintain Production Amid Increased Oil Prices
In speaking with FOX Business Tonight on Wednesday, Gary, Greg, and David Donaldson, owners of Donaldson Farms in New Jersey, shared what things have been like for American farmers amid record inflation. Specifically referencing rising oil prices, the Donaldsons said the lifeblood of the American farmer has come under threat.
The group of brothers shared they use fuel “everyday for just about everything we do.” So, the surge in prices has made day-to-day life incredibly difficult. In order to continue making a profit despite drastic inflation rates for fuel, in addition to fertilizer, planting pots, etc., the Donaldsons said they’d have to translate increased input costs to the consumer.
To give readers perspective, the NJ business owners shared a 25-pound bag of fertilizer last year cost them about $30. Now, that same bag of fertilizer goes for $50. The news outlet reports the statistics came just one week after inflation reached a 40-year high.
Rising Wages Present Hardships for American Farmers
Because just 2% of the American population works in the farming industry, those laborers are already stretched thin. Now though, as wages have seen significant increases, farmers are struggling to retain employees. During their segment on FOX Business Tonight, the Donaldson brothers shared how local wage increases have presented worsening conditions for the industry.
Like many retail outlets, a local NJ department store, in proximity to Donaldson Farms, has risen wages amid record inflation. The brothers shared that one store is offering interested associates $24 an hour, making it hard to retain farm workers.
While trying, then, to cover the increased cost of supplies, the Donaldson brothers have also had to up their wages. Increased wages have furthered the strife many American farmers currently face.
Additionally, the Donaldsons have considered expanding their business in order to see more profit. However, due to record oil prices and sky-high inflation, “with the regulations and getting approvals, sometimes it just puts that cost that much higher.”
This is because, despite increased costs in retail sales, any additional income made goes right back into the farm’s equipment and supplies. Therefore, those individuals are not seeing the payday we might imagine they are.