High input prices helped fuel debate over the next farm bill at a recent Senate Ag Committee hearing. High diesel prices mean high food prices, as farmers and truckers struggle to pay an average of $5.30 a gallon, which is up a $1.50 or so from last year.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says input costs for diesel, propane, and fertilizer will be key in the next farm bill. “As you know, our farmers are facing very high propane prices as they’re working. We’re in corn harvest right now with (intra) bean harvest.”
Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl Torres Small says programs like Rural Energy for America, or REAP, can help, but only so much. “My understanding (is) that REAP is overwhelmingly oversubscribed, so we don’t have enough funds to get it out to all the folks that are applying for it.”
Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville says his farmers are in trouble. “We’re losing them in our state. I don’t know about the other states but with diesel so expensive, with fertilizer so expensive. Urban people are moving south to Alabama, and you can’t blame our farmers for selling out because they can make a living—they can make money off their land. And, sooner or later, we’re going to have to figure out we’re going to have to eat in this country.”
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall wrote President Biden recently, urging the administration to bring more domestic diesel supply online as domestic production shrinks and the U.S. bans oil from Russia. Duvall argues, “food supply is driven by diesel,” including every input, every crop planted, every crop harvested, with all that work done by diesel engines.