DUNDEE, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Federal Reserve released new data this week on inflation. It shows that grocery costs are up 10.8% over a year ago. But that doesn’t mean the families who grow our food make big money.
“We are like any other family. We have a budget and we have to stay within that budget. And right now, we can’t afford any hiccups,” said John Delmotte of Country View Farms.
Delmotte owns and operates Country View Farms with his wife and children growing corn and soybeans in Dundee. He also serves on the Michigan Corn Growers Board of Directors. He says he has never experienced inflation like he is seeing now.
“Last year a 250-gallon container of (weedkiller) was costing us somewhere around $5,000 to $6,000. This year it is $15,000 to $17,000 for that same container,” said Delmotte.
Fertilizer costs have more than tripled.
“You’re not only paying an exorbitant cost for that product, but now you can’t even get it,” he said.
Why is this?
One reason is China is a major supplier of both fertilizer and chemicals used in herbicides. Industry experts say Chinese environmental regulations, tariffs and COVID-19 supply chain interruptions have impacted supplies and prices around the world. Delmotte says the shortage has also exposed a matter of food security.
“We have got to manage our fertilizer supply coming into this country,” he said.
Gas prices are also increasing costs leaving two bad options ahead of us:
- The Federal Reserve actions to bring inflation under control and decrease prices. This means commodity prices may drop leaving farmers in the red.
“If you don’t have farmers, you don’t have food. It is really that simple. And if farm families cannot be profitable. If we can’t break even, we can’t stay in business.”
- Commodity crop prices stay high and farmers will be able to make a profit, but it will deliver inflation and stress from farm to table. Farmers say this option makes them worry about consumers.
“I think the thing that keeps me up, thinking about the state of where we are at with things is, at what point do basic food items become unaffordable for families,” Delmotte questions.