Rising Fuel Prices Increase Farming Expenses
The combine is a necessary farm tool with a big price tag. It costs farmers like Jefferson City's Kelly Forck more than $400 to fill up his combine with diesel fuel.
"If we put in a full day, the tank's empty," Forck says.
But diesel isn't the only major cost.
"For the production of corn, the use of nitrogen fertilizer is absolutely an imperative that we use the product," Forck said.
But nitrogen fertilizer is made of natural gas, which is also on the rise. Nitrogen cost $175 a ton in 2000. Now in 2005 it's up to $400 a ton; that's more than a 128% increase in cost.
"This increase in cost to them is going to be really dramatic for those producers," Gary Marshall of the Missouri Corn Growers Association said.
Missouri farmers produce over 300 million bushels of corn every year. This makes it the second largest crop in the state. But with the rising cost of fuel it makes it harder on farmers to make a profit.
"It's kind of frustrating when you think you are going to have a profitable year and energy costs or whatever factors maybe takes the profit off the top," Forck says.
The National Corn Growers Association projects the cost of fertilizer to increase another $100 per ton next year.