YUMA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Troy Schneider and his family have been farming in eastern Colorado for four generations. He expects at least two of his three sons will carry on the family business into a fifth generation.
“We have irrigated corn, irrigated alfalfa and irrigated grass for our cattle,” Schneider said. “ then we have 2,600 acres of dry land that’s primarily wheat.”
Yet his crops across nearly 4,000 acres in Yuma and Washington counties aren’t growing as fast as inflation.
“A year ago, we paid $2.50 for farm diesel. Today, it’s $5.25,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Along with the soaring costs of fuel, Schneider says fertilizer prices have more than doubled since last spring – from $134/acre to $300.
“That $300/acre was our lock-in price. If we wouldn’t have locked it in, it would be even higher today,” he said.
On top of rising prices for just about everything, including farm equipment and labor, the war in Ukraine will also impact Colorado farmers in the months if not years to come.
“A lot of our fertilizer comes from Russia or the Ukraine area,” Schneider explained. That’s a high concern because that fertilizer was already over here for this year. Where will next year’s fertilizer come from?”
Schneider said he wrote a letter to Sen. Michael Bennet to keep him and others in Washington apprised of what farmers are dealing with and their concerns for making ends meet.
“This year we’ll be okay, we’ll make it work,” said Schneider. “But if the fertilizer prices stay where they’re at and input prices stay where they’re at – whether it be fertilizer, gasoline, diesel – and the commodity prices come down, I don’t know how we’ll make that work because those profit margins will be gone.”
“Are you worried?” Werthmann asked.
“I’m very worried for next year,” he replied.
And he said everybody will feel the impacts.
“You may not go to a farm, but you’re getting affected by it and it trickles up,” he said. “It goes all the way up the economy.”
Just like everyone else, Schneider said he is making changes to save money.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” he said. “It’s business planning and making sure everyone’s aware of what we’re facing out here. Maybe we can get by with less fertilizer and still raise that good crop.”
That good crop that every farmer hopes will be around for the next generation and beyond.
“We’ve got to learn to stretch those dollars and it’s difficult,” Schneider said.
SECTION: Making Ends Meet