Transcript


Chuck Denney (UT Institute of Agriculture)
Consider the plight of Weakley County farmer Mike Freeman. He has two thousand acres of corn and soybeans to get in the ground, and weather and planting conditions have him about ten days behind schedule. But Mike has other concerns too.

Mike Freeman (Weakley County Farmer)
“I think any consumer, farmer, anybody is familiar with inflation right now. I know we keep telling ourselves that inflation is not bad, but it’s hitting everybody, and it’s hitting me as a farmer really tough.”


Chuck Denney
Freeman is like you. He also has to go to the grocery store, where prices are on the rise. Row crop producers are getting higher commodity prices for their crops these days, but what it costs them to grow our food is also going way up. For instance, diesel fuel to run farm equipment.

Mike Freeman
“We can’t be running up and down the road burning fuel. We can’t be out here plowing a field up that could be no-tilled because you’re looking at three times the fuel costs.”

Chuck Denney
Ag revenues are up this year, but so are farming expenses. Some fertilizers have increased more than 50 percent since 2007. Seed prices for some crops have tripled, and land and farm machinery prices are up about 15 percent.

Dr. Delton Gerloff (UT Ag Economist)
“So the risk out there is really enormous compared to most years.”

Chuck Denney
UT Ag economist Dr. Delton Gerloff says this year farmers will invest more money growing crops than ever before in the history of Tennessee agriculture, and by a wide margin.

Dr. Delton Gerloff (UT Ag Economist)
“For example, in corn we’ve gone from just under $200 an acre to almost $400 an acre. In fact, some people may have spent close to $400 an acre just to put in this crop.”

Chuck Denney
So what’s a farmer to do? The short answer is the best they can. Weakley County UT Extension Director Jeff Lannom works with farmers to make certain they manage their operations in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Jeff Lannom (UT Extension-Weakley County)
“Management skills are paramount at this time. They’ve got to do a good job of keeping input costs down, a good job of marketing their crops, watching every dime and nickel if you will, just to come out where they should be at the end of the year.”

Chuck Denney
Farming will always be a bit of gamble. 2008 is crucial for farmers-a year most have never seen before. Prices are up, but so are costs, and we'll see how it all plays out come fall harvest.