Rising diesel gas prices hitting farmers in the midst of 2022 planting season
Diesel climbed to an average of $5.52 per gallon on Friday in Ohio, according to AAA, hitting farmers hard as they prepare for their 2022 planting season.
Right now, nearly 75% of corn and 50% of soybeans in Ohio have been planted this season. Much of that farming was delayed due to rainy weather early in the spring, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NASS Ohio office.
That type of farming uses diesel fuel — which is at an all-time high. Diesel has become one of the most expensive farm inputs for farmers this season. Last year during June, diesel prices were averaging $3.24 per gallon in Ohio.
Add the price for fertilizers and other chemicals – those are three times more expensive. It means farming in Ohio is getting more expensive.
Ty Higgins, with the Ohio Farm Bureau, said what’s helping farmers is grain prices for corn, soy and wheat are up.
“That is helping to offset the higher input prices that are going into this year's crop,” he said. “But by no means is it helping to make the farmer any more profitable than they were a year ago. And that bottom line is as tight as it's been in a long time.”
Reports warn of increasing gas prices in the coming months. Diesel in particular keeps rising — which makes transportation by truck or train more expensive, further driving up inflation for food and other goods.
Higgins said nothing is guaranteed right now — meaning a lot of farmers may be keeping a close eye on inflation within the next coming months.
“As of right now, they are making enough money to pay the bills that are coming in,” Higgins said. “But that income is not guaranteed for as long as we're going to see these input prices and other prices on food and products that we enjoy as consumers as well remain higher.”
Food reporter Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Support for WYSO's reporting on food and food insecurity in the Miami Valley comes from the CareSource Foundation.