EDEN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — With the current inflation rate hovering around 9%, many Idaho farmers are wondering when they’ll take a break, as many have faced tough conditions this year. last.
Eden producer Rick Brune has been a farmer for over 30 years, harvesting crops like barley, corn, wheat, alfalfa and edible beans. He said that some years it is difficult to be a farmer, and other times it is comforting.
“You wonder sometimes, especially when I have retired classmates and all, but at the end of the day you can look back and see exactly what you did, so that’s been a plus for me, and I love being in the outdoors for sure,” Brune said.
Last year, he and other growers had to deal with physically and mentally exhausting drought conditions, which forced some of his yields to drop a bit.
“Probably the hardest part was managing my water and getting it to flow on the farm at the right time,” he said.
Now it’s inflation, hovering around 9% for consumers, but for farmers it’s close to 100% on some vouchers, Brune said.
“The fuel has more than doubled. The fertilizer has more than doubled. Salaries have increased by more than ⅓ of what I expected in our original budgets,” he said.
With fuels costing in the $5.00 range and fertilizers costing between $350 and $500 depending on the field, Brune said his overall operating budget was 25% higher than last year. He said inflation is one of the reasons he didn’t plant corn this year.
“It’s the worst (inflation) I’ve had for sure. I was alive during the time dad is talking about, but I didn’t feel the effects,” Brune said.
The good news for some growers in Idaho this year is that crop prices have increased this year compared to last year, but even with rising crop prices, that doesn’t seem like enough to help growers cope with the burden of inflation.
“For the farmers, it’s six months, nine months, they carry that debt before they can actually get that money for those crops. That’s part of the reason why I picked some of the crops I did I would be able to get the money in advance and earlier,” Brune said.
Moreover, he said, about 80% of farmers are at the maximum of their budgets, “it is a difficult situation. It is physically and mentally demanding.
Brune said to break even this year, his projections will need to increase by 10% to 15%, but the silver lining in all of this is the increase in the price of hay, which is around $275 to $300 a tonne.
“The way the hay market has been going which has covered a lot of my windfall costs so far, we should be able to get 3-4 cuttings this year,” he said.
Ultimately, he said some growers had to use some of their land equity to cover additional operational costs this year, but he said he was in better shape than expected.
“We were better prepared for that. We always have as much of a savings account as possible to cover,” he said.
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