Pennsylvania farmers are being “crushed” by the record cost of diesel – so much so, that questions about a food crisis are starting to loom, the Morning Call reported.
One farmer in Lehigh County is quoted as saying: “I’ve got a tractor hooked up to my corn planter out here, no diesel fuel, and I can’t afford to get any.”
That farmer was airing his gripes to Kyle Kotzmoyer, a legislative affairs specialist for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Kotzmoyer then turned around and testified to state lawmakers: “We have reached that point to where it is very close to being a sinking ship. We are teetering on the edge right now.”
The situation looks as though it will continue to push food prices higher, after the government reported that food prices in May were 10.1% higher than last year. Kotzmoyer lamented the possibility of a food shortage: “One, if they can’t afford to put it in the ground. Or, two, if they can’t afford to take it out.”
The PA average for diesel is now $6.19 per gallon, up about 75% from a year ago, the report notes. It is a “huge, huge expense” for farmers, Kotzmoyer told state legislators.
One farmer who works on about 3,500 acres burns through about 2,000 gallons of diesel per month, he said. “If the farmers cannot get crops out of the ground, then there is not food on the shelves.”