Wiregrass farmers are facing challenges this planting season

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

Wiregrass farmers are facing a few challenges this planting season while cattle are bringing in good prices.

News 4 spoke with a local farmer to see the impact these factors could have on their bottom line.

Joe Powell has been farming row crops, produce and cattle for years and says just as soon as you have it figured it out, Mother Nature throws you a curve ball.

“In the last 4 or 5 years we've seen a drastic increase in the price of fuel, fertilizer, seed, just about all of our inputs, equipment and the prices that we're getting for our products really haven't gone up to offset that, so our profit margin has really shrunk in the last few years,” says Powell.

In many cases, costs have nearly tripled.

“There’s not a whole lot of margin of error anymore,” says Powell, “We’ve got to have a good crop every year to see a profit.”

Right now you'll find farmers in the fields making sure the soil is ready to put seeds in the ground.

Powell says now all they need is a little rain.

"We’ll probably start planting next week and we're a little bit dry but if we can get a timely rain in the next few days we'll start putting our crops in the ground," says Powell.

They hope to finish planting cotton and peanuts by May 20th.

Spring is also time for Powell to start selling cattle.

On a brighter note, prices look promising.

"The cattle prices have really gotten a lot better. And it was hard this winter. We had a lot of wet, cold weather and our grazing didn't do real good, but the cattle are doing real good now," says Powell.

Powell says he's also seen the average size of farms grow because farmers have to sell more crops to make up the difference in revenue.

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