It’s not just food on the shelves: Production prices are soaring, too
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Giselle Hood
TUSCALOOSA – Most people don’t think about where food comes from, but higher grocery prices are giving shoppers pause.
But this problem isn’t on store shelves alone. In fact, it starts right at the source.
Wayne Gilliam has been general manager of the Tuscaloosa Farmers Co-Op for more than 50 years. Equipment and fertilizer prices are rising even faster, he said. A ton of fertilizer cost $500 three years ago. Now it’s $900.
“It’s the cost of production and cost of equipment operation, fuel. It all adds up in a hurry,” Gilliam said. “We’ve been through similar things, but not as bad as what’s happening now.”
In addition to increased production costs, droughts in the West and labor shortages are also driving up grocery prices.
“Trends everywhere are about the same, and it just doesn’t look great,” Gilliam said. “Cattle prices have increased, so that means we’re going to have higher prices in the grocery store. The people who work are having to work longer, but it’s also hard to hire any good help.”
Too much rain is as bad as too little, Gilliam said, so farmers around the South are hoping for drier weather in the coming weeks.
But life goes on.
“Hey, we’ll survive. We always have,” he said.