GRATTAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The surge in gas prices, spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is causing pain for everyone, including West Michigan farmers.
The U.S set a new record high for the average cost for a gallon of regular unleaded gas Monday, with the price tag rising above $4.
“Boy, oh, boy, it makes some challenging times,” Denny Heffron, owner of Heffron Farms in northeastern Kent County, said Monday.
His farm west of Belding last year celebrated its 100th anniversary. The family business is known for growing corn, soybeans, wheat and hay and raising cattle. It’s also in the retail meat business. The busy season is just around the corner.
“We use a thousand gallons of diesel fuel. So you add another dollar a gallon on to diesel fuel, so you’re talking $1,000 a day, $7,000 a week more for diesel fuel — and that doesn’t count the gas that we use,” he said.
Heffron also has to take into account deliveries his business makes into town each week. There are also the bills for supplies brought in by trucks; they include a fuel surcharge, which Heffron says has become standard. The surcharge can range between $50 to $250 — or more.
“Commodity prices are going up and it’s no deal for us. The cost is just going to eat it up,” he said.
The cost of fuel is only one of the challenges farmers are dealing with, from labor shortages to supply chain problems and a spike in fertilizer prices.
“It’s just one more variable that farmers have to account for when they go into the 2022 growing season,” Andrew Vermeesch from the Michigan Farm Bureau. “Farmers are really going to have to think about how they can cut costs and expenses to offset the higher prices.”
Heffron said he’s preparing for another spike and it’s only going to cause more problems for consumers. But he said he’s prepared to handle it.
“I’m afraid it’s not over. The public is going to get hit right between the eyes,” he said. “I feel for the people in Ukraine. They are just trying to survive. If I have to pay higher price, so we don’t have to get any energy from Russia let it be I’ll pay it.”