[Market-farming] local, naturally grown food becoming more competitive

Tradingpost tradingpost at gilanet.com
Fri Sep 30 23:53:16 EDT 2005

For some time we've been urging a return to local, naturally grown food.
We've warned that fossil fuel and chemical fertilizer prices would go up
and keep going up, and they are, and shortages and higher food prices are
in the making now. And we've predicted local, naturally grown food would
become more competitive with storebought as a result. Local food doesn't
need fuel to move an average 1,500 miles to the store. Naturally grown food
doesn't need gas and oil inputs from fertilizer and pesticides. We see it
beginning now. Local growers like us can benefit from it and provide
healthier and more affordable food items in our communities. 

A Walla Walla Washington newspaper reports fuel and fertilizer prices are
close to pushing wheat farmers there out of business.  from
"Over a relatively short period of time, fuel prices have tripled and the
cost of fertilizer has doubled. . .  At the same time, the price for soft
white wheat, the type which accounts for 88 percent of the wheat grown in
Washington state, is hovering slightly above $3 a bushel, ``a 20-year low"
. . . The price for fertilizer, particularly anhydrous ammonia, which is
widely used by growers in this region, has also climbed. `Fertilizer prices
are almost double what they used to be...it's a pretty sad situation," said
Jack DeWitt, past president of the Washington Wheat Growers Association. .
. His son, Jay DeWitt, voiced similar concerns. ``I guess the worst part
of the problem for me is the natural gas prices. Nitrogen fertilizer is my
number one expense item, and it's more than doubled over the past 30
months". . . For farmers who use anhydrous ammonia to fertilize their
fields, the reason behind the price increases lies in the price of natural
gas, which is used to make the fertilizer". 

Also: Fertilizer Costs Soar; Farmers Face Tough Decisions 
"Farmers this fall will have to scrutinize their fertilizer purchases like
never before due to recent price hikes that have pushed the cost of
anhydrous ammonia to new highs. . . "Natural gas has been called the
forgotten fuel because so much attention is being placed on high gasoline
prices," said Jean-Mari Peltier, president of the National Council for
Farmer Cooperatives. "

paul, NM tradingpost at gilanet.com

The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all
our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to
foster its renewal is our only hope.
   - Wendell Berry 

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