BY ALEXANDRA DERYN
SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. (WENY) – Farmers of the Southern Tier discussed the negative effects of the rising fuel prices the county is currently enduring.
Grape farmer Tina Hazlitt said she is learning how to take a hard hit in her farming budget.
“The fuel prices…really squeezing us,” she said. “Yeah, it’s going to be a stressful year…we’ll see.”
As President Joe Biden imposes additional sanctions on Russia, it is hard to tell when Americans will cease to see an increase in fuel prices. President of the Schuyler County Farm Bureau Mark McCulloch has noticed a dramatic increase in his budget. At least one-third of his budget will be spent on gas alone.
“We do a lot of budgeting, right…and forecasting and things like that,” he said. “We’re anticipating a 60 percent increase as far as far as in crop expense…just on that side alone.”
Dairy farmer Mark Watts said he will stop farming because gas and diesel prices are rising. He explained he has at least 12 vehicles that have to keep running with diesel fuel.
“At least a dozen take diesel fuel and it is going to be so expensive to try to do any kind of cropping this year as far as corn and hay,” he said. “We’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to do it.”
Hazlitt said her farm has not been hit this hard since 2008, financially. Over a decade ago, she remembered the cost for fuel had nearly doubled. She said she is feeling the pinch once again.
“That was a hard year,” she said. “I’m anticipating this summer to be similar to that and try to plan ahead and see where I can cut back.”
Watts said his family on the farm is planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
“Everything is going to be affected and we just have to live with it,” he said. “If we get hurt this year, hopefully next year will be better…it’s the gamble of farming.”
Local farmers are preparing for the storm to hit them hard at the height of cropping season.