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Ag producers in Wyoming feel the costs of inflation

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Land Report Editors

Across the country inflation rates are at all time highs, which are affecting many industries. Here in Wyoming, ranchers and farmers are also feeling the costs.

The current average price of diesel in Wyoming is $5.69, which is more than a $2 increase since this time last year. With the haying season approaching, ranchers need diesel to fuel their equipment. They also need it to go out and check and move cows.

Another problem is the rising cost of fertilizer for crops. Brett Moline, the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation’s director of Governmental and Public Affairs, said some of those costs have doubled in the past year.

“Ag producers can't pass that price along. A lot of retail shops, if their prices go up, at least a portion of them, they can pass along to the consumer,” Moline said. “Agriculture can't do that – we are price takers instead of price makers in the economic world.”

Moline said these costs will cut into rancher’s margins, and he is not convinced the industry has seen the peak of inflation yet.

“I always say that the ag producers are the the most optimistic pessimist or the most pessimistic optimist – it's never so good that it can't get better and it's not ever so bad that it can't get worse, but we'll ride it out, they'll delay some expenses as much as they can,” Moline said.

He added that he will be interested to see if ag producers break even by the end of summer after selling off their commodities, like crops and beef.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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