High fuel cost causes concern for Wisconsin farmers

Corn and soybean produces say price of fuel could impact product costs
We're all feeling the impacts of rising gas prices, but local farmers are especially concerned.
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 7:05 PM CST
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Brooklyn, Wis. (WMTV) - Corn and soybean farmer Mark O’Brien is preparing to pay double the annual fuel fees because of climbing gas prices.

O’Brien said they usually spend $30,000 on fuel overall, but he anticipates they’ll spend at least $60,000 in 2022.

“It’s another added expense we weren’t looking for,” the O’Brien Farms Inc. co-owner said.

They deliver corn and soybeans to customers in semi-trucks that he said hold 300 gallons of diesel costing $1,300 to fill-up. He is worried the unpredictable fuel prices will hurt crop production.

“At the current price of fuel you will limit your tillage practices to instead of reworking the field because it is just isn’t right, we might not do that,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to have to conserve fuel. We still have to plant the crops we still have to irrigate. You’re going to try to conserve all of the fuel you can. We don’t have any choice we have to.”

He said customers who buy products that use corn or soybeans do not understand price inflation impacts farmers too.

“A lot of consumers don’t realize that it comes from the farm it doesn’t come from the grocery store,” O’Brien said. “There’s going to be a lot of people that are going to get woken up by this thing. Everything has to increase in order for us to make a profit. If the American farmer can’t make a profit then we’re done.”

O’Brien Farm Inc. is currently processing their products now before deliver season starts in two weeks.

He said that is when fuel costs will have a significant impact as they deliver products on semi trucks.

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