American farmers are warning that the impact of the skyrocketing cost of agricultural production on consumer food prices has only just begun.
Idaho farmer Shay Myers owns and operates Owyhee Produce and appeared on the Friday broadcast of “The Balance” on Newsmax. He told host Eric Bolling that while the cost of farming this year has gone up by 35%, consumers have so far only seen an 11% increase. Myers warned that higher prices are surely on the way.
Myers has operated Owyhee since 2005. The company is a third-generation farming business and one of the largest onion farms in the U.S. The farm also grows watermelons, asparagus, and other products.
Myers said there is no choice in agriculture but to pass increased production costs along because farmers already operate on a very narrow margin.
He said that under the best of circumstances farmers normally have only an 8 or 9% profit margin to work with and that large increases in the cost of essential items like fertilizer and diesel fuel will start showing up in grocery stores even more in the coming months.
He said that as annual agriculture contracts begin to reset, things will get worse in the next six to nine months. He added that there is “no question that you haven’t seen the worst of it yet.”
He said that American farmers are seeing greatly increased foreign investment in U.S. agriculture coming from nations like China and the United Arab Emirates. He said that many rich foreigners see agricultural operations as a “safe haven” investment.
He noted that agricultural businesses have traditionally only appreciated in value, making American operations attractive to wealthy investors with ready cash. Myers said that difficult conditions for American producers have made it difficult or impossible to resist cash buyers willing to pay high prices.
Myers went on to point out that losing domestic control over American farmland is a national security issue and there should be policies that would require that foreign purchasers be carefully vetted.
He told Bolling that the U.S should be “looking at China more closely” and that agricultural property is “ just one of those pieces that we need to protect and to consider who the purchaser is.”