Nebraska farmer talks rising crop prices, costs

Morning In America

Paula Peterson, who has been farming with her husband, Tom, for 35 years, says the industry has changed a lot in the last couple years.

(NewsNation) — Drought risks, inflation and the war in Ukraine have caused food prices across the country to rise.

Nebraska has been hit particularly hard, with the U.S. Drought Monitor showing that nearly every part of the state is facing some kind of drought risk. And in California, droughts in the southern part of the state are so bad, they’re asking people to cut outdoor watering back to one day a week.

Paula and Tom Peterson, fourth- and fifth-generation farmers in Nebraska, say they’ve been lucky: They are in an area that isn’t as affected by the drought.

But Paula Peterson said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America” that they’ve seen a lot of changes in the farming industry during the last two or three years.

The price of items such as fertilizer has doubled for a couple of years in a row, Paula Peterson said.

“We’re having to look earlier to pre-book for the following year than we ever have,” Paula Peterson said. “We are having to be so much more cognizant of what the pricing is whether it’s on corn, chemicals, fertilizer, even fuel. All of that plays into us growing our crops.”

Crop prices aren’t determined by farmers, Paula Peterson said.

“We are price takers, not price makers,” she said. “We can know what our input costs are. But that isn’t exactly what the packer is going to pay us.”

Contributing to this price increase is the fact that processors and companies know when to increase their prices, Paula Peterson said.

Heading into the summer, “people are grilling and everything,” she pointed out.

“The market’s going to be there,” Paula Peterson said. “So on our side, we have to lock in our feed costs ahead, because we never know what we’re going to make.”

Still, Paula Peterson said she’s happy to be in the “most blessed part of Nebraska.”

They’ve had some nice rains last week, she said, “which is a Godsend today.”

“We’re hoping we can get another chance of rain tonight and tomorrow,” she said.

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