RANDOLPH COUNTY, NC (WGHP) — Four generations of farming never prepared Travis Pugh’s family for the growing prices that would come with inflation.
“There’s much easier ways to make a living, but I go back to the point that somebody has to do it,” Pugh said.
The Pugh family maintains around 3,800 acres of land, farming barley, soybeans and corn for livestock.
“[Inflation] is getting to the grocery stores. A lot of people are starting to realize the impact of that, but in reality, if you asked a farmer over a year ago, they would have told you what was coming around,” said Blake Szilvay with Randolph County NC Cooperative Extension.
Last year, Travis noticed the price of diesel going up and it taking longer to get the parts he needed for farming equipment.
“Everybody was kind of scared…people didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know if they should buy early or if things would come back down,” Pugh said
Unfortunately, prices aren’t dropping.
Two years ago, the Pugh family paid around $375 per ton of fertilizer.
“This year, we’ve seen it as high as $975 a ton, so that definitely digs into the bottom line,” Pugh said.
“People may think, ‘golly, I’m paying this much for my rice and all these products,'” Szilvay said. “[Pugh] is not seeing the benefits of these high prices in the grocery store.”
With higher input prices and demand remaining largely the same for goods, farmers aren’t making any extra money.
Szilvay tells FOX8 he hasn’t seen any local farmers fall to the pressure of inflation, but they’re feeling the effects. Some are looking at ways to diversify.
With the Greensboro Megasite moving in a few miles north of Pugh’s property, Pugh has started to see some people selling land.
“Land prices were typically trading around $5,000 per acre. A lot of farms that we’ve been renting or tending for several years are for sale now for $20,000 to $40,000 an acre,” Pugh said. “There’s just no way for agriculture to buy that.”
Advocates and farmers tell FOX8 that changes in federal policy have also put added pressure on farmers. Policies offering loans at lower interest rates and help feeding livestock were scaled back.
Pugh fears without any change, it will get too difficult to farm, and there could be a lot of hungry people.
“I think if people understood just how close they are to being hungry…I think more people would be shaking in their boots,” Pugh said.
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