Dry winter and supply prices impacting the agricultural industry

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Farmers and agricultural leaders across the state are feeling the effects of rising supply costs and a dry winter, and with planting season fast approaching, farmers strive to prepare despite these challenges.

Wednesday was the second day of AgWeek’s 40th Annual Agricultural Show in Rochester, an event where more than 50 local, regional and national vendors promoted their services and products.

“We have a lot of visitors who come to visit our suppliers to learn more about the services they have to offer, the businesses they are and the offers they provide to agricultural producers in this region,” said Mikayla Wingert, Agweek Sales Representative.

Not only was the event a place to buy and sell supplies and services, but also a place where farmers could discuss issues affecting the industry right now. The first being the dry Minnesota winter.

“Our farm is in northern Minnesota, north of Bemidji. We normally get 26 inches of rain. We have two. We went two months without a drop of rain. So we had to overwinter the cows somewhere else and put them in a feedlot, dry run them and now what we unfortunately sell cattle,” said Tonya Miller, Sales Manager of Real Tuff Livestock Equipment.

“We haven’t done that yet, but we’re certainly worried about that, because there’s no humidity in the basement, and that’s usually a sign of what we’re going to have for a harvest. Soil conditions are the driest I’ve seen in a while,” said Plainview farmer Paul Wingert.

Another problem that many farmers face is the rising cost and availability of farm equipment.

“You can’t sell what you don’t have. If you can’t sell, you can’t make money. Repair work is probably more important than it has ever been just because people are fixing what we have and trying to survive,” said Paul Wingert.

“We’ve been dealing with steel prices, rising costs, but what we’re seeing is that for the first time now when I’ve ordered steel, it’s stayed the same” , Miller said.

Despite the challenges, farmers seek to adapt where they can and seek community support where they need it.

” You have to adapt. Take protection and do what you have to do to survive,” said Paul Wingert.

“It’s just nice to see all the other products that are here. Maybe we can get our lives back to normal,” Miller said.

Another problem plaguing the agriculture industry is the rise in fertilizer prices that was recently caused by the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the second largest country in the world to produce potash, a plant nutrient found in many fertilizers. Without it, it drives up the prices here in the US

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