EDITORIAL: The high costs involved in growing our food


Inflation has burdened everyone. But it is especially jolting to hear how inflation has impinged on farming. The cost of growing our food has never been so high. The result is hitting U.S. consumers in the grocery store checkout lines.

“This is the most perilous time for American agriculture,” Accomack County farmer David Hickman told the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hickman’s comments were included in an article in last week’s edition. An agriculturally rich area like ours is fortunate for one of its own to be heard by legislators from all over the country.

He said the cost of diesel fuel on his farm increased 186% last year. Costs of propane and gasoline also skyrocketed. 

Natural gas, which provides nitrogen for fertilizer, increased because much of it came from Russia and Belarus prior to the start of Russia’s war with Ukraine. Hickman said his fertilizer costs were up a whopping 225%.

“Agricuture is directly affected by energy and petroleum,” he said.

As everyone knows, the spinoff impact of higher agricultural costs are found in your grocery store. Nobody is spared such an impact. 

The chair of the committee, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), said Congress has an opportunity to address these spiraling costs. 

One way will be to allow for more domestic natural gas production, which would help the price on fertilizer. 

The agricultural community and rural areas like ours will be watching.

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