Increased gas prices are impacting Idaho farmers

Mar 22, 2022

For many farmers, tractors are needed to prep the soil, plant seed, and harvest. To operate the tractors diesel fuel is needed on a daily basis.

“Without fuel, this tractor is just a sit and wait,” said Neil Durrant, 4th generation farmer at Big D Ranch in Meridian.

Like many Americans, Durrant is feeling the pinch at the pump, but on a bigger scale. His biggest tractor holds 200 gallons of diesel and needs to be filled up daily, the farmer said. In 2021 it cost around $400 to fill it up: today it has doubled to $800, Durrant said.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s going to get any better, so going into the summer and fall when we start harvesting, prices are going to be high.”

Big D Ranch harvests corn, wheat, sugar beets, hay, peppermint, and pinto beans. The tractors are needed at the farm for almost every process, meaning fuel is needed from start to finish. “We are feeling it really bad here on our end, but those costs are going to be carried on to the consumer and they are going to feel it when they go to the grocery stores,” Durrant said.

If gas prices don’t take a steep decline, Durrant said consumers should expect an eight to ten percent increase in some goods at grocery stores. “Corn is probably one of the most, and that goes into the dairy, and you see that on the beef side and the milk that you are buying in the store,” he said.

Durrant said as he and many farmers start planting, they worry about another issue heading into the season, Idaho’s drought.

“We don’t have enough water to grow the crop,” Durrant said. “Those 100 acres I have been farming, I might only have enough water to farm 50 of it.”

Durrant hopes that consumers are aware of the issue and are prepared to see the price of goods increase.

‘We are trying to produce the best crop out there so that when you go home tonight you have something on your dinner plate that is not costing you an arm and a leg, but with that comes costs, and when costs go up, we’ve got to pass those costs onto consumers,” he said.

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