Canada

‘Trying to budget for fuel has been crazy’: High costs impact N.S. farmers


Farmers know uncertainty comes with the profession — with acres exposed to potential storms or droughts.


But this season, the weather isn’t the worry, it’s the cost of fertilizer and fuel.


“Horrendous this spring, trying to budget for fuel has been crazy,” said Tim Marsh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture.


With hundreds of acres on his farm, a tractor is a must to get through the to-do list.


“Hauling manure to the field, cultivating the land to get it ready for seeding, harvesting the land,” said Marsh.


Filling his 2000 litre tank happens each month. Despite paying less tax on fuel, the sticker shock doesn’t stop.


“You worry about fuelling your vehicle, you go and put 2000 litres in a tank.”


Then there is the increased cost of herbicides and fertilizer.


“It’s probably going to be the most expensive seeding season for farmers,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University.


Charlebois says farmers could cash in later this year amid high food prices.


But seeding will come with a risk — farmers will have to spend a lot to make more.


“Coupled with that is the Ukrainian conflict that limits access to fertilizers and we saw that happen to commodity prices in recent months.”


Farmers in Nova Scotia rely on limestone to neutralize the acidic soil.


The province is boosting support to cover the cost of moving it.


“This year I’m really worried that a lot of different producers are not going to have any leftover,” said Marsh.


Despite the price increases for farmers, Marsh says some are absorbing that cost. And some farmers might not be growing food because of it.

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