High fuel prices impact farmers

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NORTH BLOOMFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — According to AAA, the cost of diesel hit a record high Monday in the Youngstown-Warren area with the average cost per gallon recorded at $5.91. That’s a big cost escalation that’s wreaking havoc on the agriculture industry.

“I’m holding my breath,” said Jim Schwartz of Maize Acres Farm.

Schwartz is preparing for the rising cost of diesel fuel. He farms about 140 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in North Bloomfield.

Schwartz said he bought 700 gallons of diesel at $2.26 a gallon in December. Since then, the cost has increased by more than three and a half dollars a gallon.

He knows he will have to buy about 800 gallons more to get past the harvest.

“It hasn’t affected me much yet, but in the fall when we harvest, it will really have a big impact,” Schwartz said.

“Long term, it’s hitting farmers’ wallets in every way and it’s having a big impact on agriculture,” said Trumbull County Agriculture Center Director Ed Agler.

Agler said high prices could affect what you can find in stores, and the cost of fuel has also driven up fertilizer prices. It is a national problem that has forced some farmers to plant fewer crops, or not to plant at all.

“A lot of farmers are facing this problem right now, they are paying double to plant the same acre as last year,” Schwartz said.

“It has a big impact, so the less the farmer can plant, the less food there will be on store shelves and the general public will see a big difference,” Agler said.

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