Food Shortage Fears Mount as PA Farms ‘Crushed’ by Record Diesel Prices
'No diesel fuel, and I can’t afford to get any'
Pennsylvania farmers are being "crushed" by the record cost of diesel as a global food crisis is beginning to loom.
One farmer in Lehigh County said this:
“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.
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," he said.
"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, said:
“If the farmers cannot get crops out of the ground, then there is not food on the shelves.”
Last month, Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian oil, but said the gas crisis would be an "opportunity" to push for “clean energy goals.”
“It’s going to take some time to adjust gas supply chains and infrastructure that were built for the last decade so we’re going to have to make sure the families in Europe can get through this winter and the next while we’re building an infrastructure for a diversified, resilient and clean energy future,” Biden said.
Meanwhile in the UK, the cost of farming has soared amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Farmers both in Britain and beyond are facing increased costs thanks in large part to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which has led to supply shortages in fertilizer and other essential resources, in turn driving up the costs of operation.
Some fear that this increase in costs will result in shortages in a number of foodstuffs in Britain, with farmers being driven out of the industry due to supermarkets not being willing to pay enough for farming to produce food at the break-even point.