Farmers Not Digging Costs of Gas

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Huge tractors normally get filled with a special liquid fertilizer, which is then spread on local crops, helping insure strong growth.

But the cost of many fertilizers continues to rise, all because natural gas is used to create the mixture, and farmers say the rising cost is hurting them, and eventually the rest of our economy.

Fred Wetherington, a tobacco and peanut farmer, says, "I think our whole economy, if we don't do something about fuel cost, is in trouble. I'll tell you, as the economy is sensitive to it, we're (farmers) seeing it as a problem big time."

The higher fuel costs are not just hurting the farmers, but they're hurting retailers like the Farmers Supply Store. Experts say the rising cost of fertilizer is up about 20 percent in the last year, which is pushing sales down. Fuel delivery cost are also up, cutting into profits, and managers say the added freight costs are also pushing prices of all their products skyward.

Wetherington adds, "I think a lot of us feel like we're getting to the point of squealing point, because it’s a 40 percent hike in cost over the last two years, maybe more than that. It just keeps going up."

Farmers say because their crops are under contract, there's nothing they can do but absorb the cost, even if they end up losing money.