Dairy farmer testifies on the headache surrounding high input costs

The last few years have been very trying for U.S. agriculture, from drought, to labor, to sky-high input costs. The House Ways and Means Committee hit the road to New York for a field hearing. While there, a dairy farmer testified on the impact, saying he has never seen inputs that high his whole career.

“On the input side of our business, last year was the craziest year of my 45-year career, led by fertilizer prices, which are up 1 to 300%, and fuel prices which were up 70-100%. Today, fertilizers settled back to an average of 70-80%, higher than 2021. That hasn’t settled back further, my supplier tells me, because Russia and China are internally restricting exports, keeping supplies tight worldwide and hence prices historically high. Fuel prices are back to a more traditional range. Almost all other costs are higher, including machinery, repair parts and some supplies,” said Dale Hemminger.

Hemminger says moving forward, his biggest challenge will be remaining competitive with labor. He calls the current H-2A program out of control with regulations, fees, and recent wage hikes.