America’s farmers and food prices

The World

This farmer farms in Minnesota and you’d think high prices for his crops would have him feeling good, but that’s not the whole story. He says this is the most crucial year he’s ever faced, and he sold a lot of his crops last year and then the price of the inputs also went up and supplies are tight. He says high prices won’t mean anything this year without a good crop. He says he and his brothers are trying to think of ways to cut fertilizer use and going across the field without hurting their yield but otherwise he doesn’t see a lot of what he can do to limit his fuel use. He’s conscious of how interrelated the food and fuel crises are on a global level. He says all of us are the mercy of the oil industry. Farmers represent a diverse and wide ranging spectrum of opinions on this issue. For instance livestock farmers are hurt by the high cost of grain whereas wheat farmers benefit; and farmers who grow crops for biofuels may support that industry whereas others don’t. but many farmers share the current uncertainty as the cost of energy rises. Those who are in charge of supply for supermarkets are just worried about supplies. This official wants to see more farmland used for wheat and less attention to biofuels. President Bush was asked directly about biofuels but argued that it was in the national interest to have farmers grow energy. Farming in the US will remain contentious. And it’s clear that many farmers fear the rising cost of fuel will wipe out their business.

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