10 November 2005

Farmers and Natural Gas

It is little surprise that energy costs impact farmers who use lots of heavy equipment, and it is little surprise that Ken Salazar would call as a witness a farmer from Akron, Colorado, where I have relatives, to testify on this impact. But, I was surprised by the impact of natural gas prices on farmers:

Natural-gas costs have increased 215 percent for farmers in three years, he said.

"That has raised my cost of irrigation per crop year from $50 per acre in 2003 to $158 per acre expected in 2006," he [the Akron farmer] said.

I hadn't known that irrigation equipment was often powered with natural gas. (For the record, my relatives are dryland farmers, and basically don't irrigate their crops).

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