Connecticut farmers

Connecticut Farmers Explain Why Food and Flower Prices are Soaring

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From the fields to the greenhouses, regardless of where plants or produce are grown, prices are soaring.

“Our costs have increased, probably at least by a third from last year. And speaking to some of the suppliers in the bigger farms throughout Connecticut, they're all saying that the product is going to be at least that, a third plus more, due to the supply and demand of a lot of things throughout the whole industry,” said Robert Bahre, the owner of Applegate Farm in Canton.

The increased cost in seed and fertilizer are driving prices up, according to Bahre and Eric Peterson, a farm manager in Berlin.

“Last year we paid about $600 a ton for our fertilizer for the field. This year it’s up to about $1,000, so nearly doubled,” Peterson, part-owner and farm manager at Cold Spring Brook Farm in Berlin, said.

Another big expense is of course fuel. Farmers are paying $5 a gallon for oil to heat their greenhouses and $6 a gallon in diesel for their tractors, according to Peterson.

Farmers are being forced to pass those costs along to customers. That means a hanging large flower pot at Applegate Farm in Canton is about $5 to $7 more this year.

“We’ve certainly raised all the prices so far on our plant business and our greenhouse business. I’d say about a 10% increase is what we’re charging, and we’ll probably have to do something similar for our produce when we start selling that in the summertime,” said Peterson.

President Biden just announced his administration will expand insurance for double cropping, which is when a farmer plants a second crop on the same land in the same year. The government also plans to double the funding to produce fertilizer domestically.

Farmers said they are grateful for the local support from their customers and they hope it keeps coming, but they also need more support at the state level.

“I think we need to take a strong hard look at it and do all we can do to support farming within the state of Connecticut and keep these guys on the plus side of it, so they're not they're not upside down and they're ready to cash in and be done with it. Because once we lose it, they're gone,” said Bahre.

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