Chile farmer struggles amid rising costs

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The price of gas isn’t the only challenge for the hardworking New Mexico farmers. The current costs of an important part of their planting process is making them rethink strategy.

"It’s a bad day to be a farmer,” said Glen Duggins Socorro County chile farmer.

Prices are soaring all across the board, especially on products farmers depend on, like oil.

"It’s twice the price, it’s $4.50 and that’s buying several thousand gallons at a time. It’s still $4.50. We have tractors that hold 200 gallons to fill them up look what that costs, a thousand dollar bill to fill a tractor up and it’ll run what about 14 hours?" said Duggins.

The price of fertilizer has also skyrocketed.

"It should be around maybe $4.50 a ton, It’s like $1,200 a ton now."

And this is forcing farmers like Duggins to make tough decisions.

"In 38 years we have never not fertilized, never," said Duggins.

This year, Duggins says he won’t be using a pound of it.

"We’re going to plant the seed in the ground and pray, and just hope that it comes out.”

He says between not fertilizing and ongoing labor shortages, it could drop his chile production in half. Other chemicals farmers use, such as herbicides, have also seen a huge increase in price.

"We buy it at 250 gallons container that’s been running about $5,000 a container for several years, this year it’s $15,000 and it’s a waiting list. "

Duggins says this is an issue farmers all across the country are facing – and these costs will ultimately be passed on to us buyers.

"You’re going to see high prices, you’re going to see empty shelves, I guarantee you, you are and it goes back to the oil,” he said. It’s not the war, this was well underway before that and it may have aggravated it a little bit but we are still sitting here suffering paying high prices. Wars across the globe and they still refuse to pump more oil."

He says he’ll start planting during the first week of April and hope those prayers are answered.