Wednesday, September 10, 2008

At home in North Dakota, Agriculture Secretary Schafer hears farmers' fears of a cost crunch

Chuck Haga of the Grand Forks Herald reports on the visit to the Big Iron agricultural expo in West Fargo by former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer, now secretary of agriculture: "When he first attended Big Iron [ag expo] as a candidate for governor in 1992, corn was bringing $2.16 a bushel, soybeans $5.36 and wheat $3.20. Each has more than doubled in price, he said. But the costs of fuel, fertilizer, seed and land have risen, too."

There is fear among North Dakota farmers that if crop prices level off there could be serious economic distress. “You’re always optimistic if you’re a farmer,” Tom Voller, who is one, told Haga. "But you’re cautious, too. The input costs are catching up so fast, and the prices are stabilizing. It could get ugly if that continues.” Increasing the use of renewable energy could help farmers with their bottom line by alleviating their dependence on costly fossil fuels. (Read more)

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