Pee Dee farmers worry about rising chemical prices

Pee Dee

OLANTA, S.C. (WBTW) — Many farmers are worried about next year’s harvest as the chemicals they need to grow their crops get more and more expensive.

One of the Pee Dee’s major fertilizer distributors called this a global issue.

Warren Coker, an Olanta hay farmer, said he expects to spend nearly three times as much on the chemicals he needs per acre compared with last year. when he paid $76 per acre for potash, urea and liquid nitrogen.

“This coming year, prices for that same fertilizer will cost me $196 per acre,” Coker said.

Coker has been farming since the ’80s and said he has never faced a financial situation like this before. He plans to raise the price of his hay bales to cover the cost but doesn’t know how it will affect his sales.

“You really don’t know what to do,” Coker said. “You don’t know whether to hope that people are able to buy the product at the price it is or if you just need to fold it up and quit.”

He is far from the only farmer in the area affected by the rise in prices.

“We’re going to cut back a little bit and kind of hope for the best,” Zack Floyd, a Scranton corn, soybean and peanut farmer said. “Next year is probably going to be a lean year for our profit.”

Floyd said he plans to plant less of each of his crops, as his budget won’t allow him to buy the amount of fertilizer he normally uses.

“Making decisions on what we plant for next year will depend on how high these fertilizer prices go,” Chris Moore, a Timmonsville corn, soybean and wheat farmer said.

Troy Brown manages the Carolina Eastern location in Lynchburg, which sells fertilizer and chemicals to many of the farms in the Pee Dee. He said he has heard complaints from plenty of customers.

“Everybody is worried about next year,” Brown said. “How will they pay the bills, will the commodity prices stay up?”

He said chemical prices are expected to continue rising.

“It’s stressful every day to think about it but we just have to have faith that it is going to get better,” Moore said.

A spokesperson for Carolina Eastern said as the chemical prices rise, so too will the commodity prices of the crops. He said a wide range of factors have contributed to the high prices, including trade policies in major chemical exporters like China, Egypt and Russia as well as the Biden administration’s moves toward renewable energy.

He said he is hopeful that the prices will level out sometime next year.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories