Local farmers struggling with rising costs


CHESHIRE, CT (WFSB) – Farmers across the state are struggling to keep up with rising costs.

Old Bishop Farm in Cheshire said increases in diesel and fertilizer costs were the most impactful.

There was even an increase in the price of seeds.

It also becomes more expensive to bring all these materials to the farm.

Supply chain issues continue to be an issue.

The owner said he was still waiting for material for some crops.

This has resulted in some adaptation to their operations.

“We tried to get our orders in very early for things. We’ve already ordered items for fall and the holiday season because we know it’s going to take a long time to get them. And even last year it was a problem for us,” said John Torello, owner of Old Bishop Farm.

But the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced aid plans.

“We try not to pass it on to our customers if we can, but we are not a charity. We are going to sink,” Torello said.

Since January, Torello said he noticed a 20% increase in costs.

Most notably in diesel, fertilizer and other chemical prices, but markups are everywhere.

“Even the cost of seeds has gone up. The cost of getting materials here has gone up,” Torello said.

Supply chain issues also remain a big problem.

“Availability of materials was also an issue. So, you know, we’re seasonal. The flowers won’t wait for things to happen here,” Torello said.

This week the USDA announced that Connecticut is using one of their new programs to purchase and distribute state-grown produce to underserved communities.

Bonnie Burr, assistant director and department head of the extension department at UConn, said these programs will help use produce from local farmers.

“They’re going to be rolling out new food system programs so we can try to scale up, accelerate what’s available, and try to help relieve the pressure,” Burr said.

Torello said visiting and buying directly from farmers is the best way to support them.

“A 90-year-old woman told us how her parents brought her here when she was a child. Really, the community needs to come out and support all of its farmers,” Torello said.

To make it easier to support your local farmers, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture offers online resources to find the nearest farmer, farm stand, and farmers market. You can find more here.


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