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Conflict in Ukraine weighing down farmers

Posted at 11:00 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 23:00:30-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Peach Ridge Farms has been in Todd Quick’s family for decades. It was owned by his dad, but when he passed away, Todd took over.

It’s a labor of love that keeps the family business alive. But lately, Todd has noticed some costly changes to a product most farmers like himself rely on.

“Well, fertilizer, I mean, it's gone up quite a bit,” says Todd. “What used to be $12 to $15 a bag is now $25 to $30.”

He doesn't think it'll put farms out of business, but he believes it will reduce the amount of acreage they plant, ultimately affecting the money coming in.

“There's a lot of guys that are stressed out about it,” says Todd. “I mean, everybody's pretty worried.”

RELATED: Experts explain how Ukraine invasion could impact supply chain

“I’m worried about it myself a little bit,” says Grand Valley State University Economics Professor Dan Giedeman. “Russia is a huge producer of fertilizer.”

Dan says the war in Ukraine is the reason behind the increase — and it could also affect food prices at the grocery store.

“Ukraine and Russia supply about 30% of the world's wheat; Ukraine, about 10%,” Dan explains. “It’s gonna cause food prices to be higher in the United States. There's no way around it.”

Dan says the longer the war continues, the worse it's going to get — although it won't be felt as severely as countries already facing food insecurity.

As for farmers like Todd, he's calling on consumers for their support.

“We need your help. That's the truth,” says Todd. “Anything you can do to help us, we'd love to have you.”

Todd says he’s cutting back on purchases to make up for the cost of fertilizer. He’s also increasing the price of his farm’s membership for consumers for the first time in 20 years.

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