Now that I’ve been a farm girl for the third spring, I know what to expect from my farmer partner. He is stressed out before he starts to plant because he must deliver all the seeds to his customer in time (he is a Pioneer rep). But when he’s finally in a tractor to harrow or to plant, he calms down and enjoys the moment.
This year has been different. His stress started back in November with the high price of fertilizer. Luckily for us, he signed his and paid for it at the end of 2021. But even back then, the price was 3 time higher than the year before.
3 times higher…Can you imagine what that does to a planned budget? My partner is a dairy farmer as well as a grain farmer, so the increase he got for his dairy all got eaten up by the price of fertilizer and animal feed which also rose significantly.
Let’s state something very clearly: the hype about higher dairy prices is just that. It’s not going into farmers’ pockets. Its paying for higher transportation, fertilizer, and animal feed costs on top of skyrocketing gas and diesel prices.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a pressure on diesel as Europe consumes more of it than North America. And now that they want to source it elsewhere it is putting pressure on other countries and affecting reserves and therefore prices.
It is rare that diesel is more expensive than gas but here we are.
And most farmers use diesel not to mention it is the dominant fuel in the heavy-duty trucking sector.
We are lucky because my partner is good with numbers and is always ahead of the curve and remains on track to get the yields he forecasted. He especially wants to have a good season so he can do his part knowing the world is in a food crisis. The pressure is on Canadian farmers this season in a way we haven’t seen for a very long time.
However, some of our farm friends aren’t as lucky and are feeling the squeeze of higher prices for everything. Many farmers may not survive and that is heartbreaking for everyone who supports the farming family community. Let’s all hope the best for everyone.
And while grain farmers will be able to sell corn, soya, wheat, canola, and oats for higher prices,the cost of production will also be much higher and margins won’t be great. But that is a problem for the fall.
A couple key takeaways: Don’t expect grocery prices to go down anytime soon. Meat producers are facing the same higher costs of everything. Even vegetable farmers are suffering under higher costs. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.
That is why we must do all we can to buy Canadian food products, so our farmers can at least break even with their cost of production and don’t have to waste unsold food.
For now, my farmer is full of optimism, his fields are looking great, he has confidence in his seeds, and he can only trust that Mother Nature collaborates and nourishes the soils so all can grow healthy and strong.
Spring is my favorite season, full of hope and promises. He says to me often that we cultivate hope and this year I feel it more than ever before.