Texas Farmers Face Drought, Inflation, and Worker Shortage
NATURE AND INFLATION - Farmers are facing many challenges this year—on top of dealing with mother nature, they are navigating pandemic fall-out, things like employee shortages, and then there’s inflation. Texas has a huge agriculture industry, and its producers are warning state lawmakers about the impact all this has on rural communities. Heston McBride runs AgroTech, an agricultural service business in Lampasas. He testified before the Texas Senate Finance Committee earlier this week.
“Many of these rural communities rely on agriculture as the backbone of the local community. With agriculture producers struggling to make a profit due to increased cost, there's less disposable income to support the community,” McBride said.
McBride says his business has held onto its employees but he’s not been able to provide pay increases due to inflation. His company blends fertilizer for farmers. Now natural gas is used to make fertilizer and the price for that is rising which is driving up the cost of fertilizer McBride sells to his customers.
“And at the beginning of last year, the price of that fertilizer was 300 dollars a ton. Currently, it's 700 dollars a ton. That's an increase of 133 percent in a year," McBride explained.
McBride pointed out that on top of rising costs and employee shortages, farmers and ranchers are also dealing with the effects of widespread drought which will affect production and all this will impact consumer prices at the grocery store.