‘It's Brutal': Rising Costs Impacting Farmers, State Highlights Tax Exemption Permits

"It is brutal. Inflation is absolutely brutal and there is no way that you can’t pass it along to the consumer."

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With the summer season underway at Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, the winery's owner said it is both an exciting and unsettling time.

"It is brutal. Inflation is absolutely brutal and there is no way that you can’t pass it along to the consumer which is just making the cycle worse," said Jonathan Edwards, co-founder of the winery.

Edwards said everything costs more and the team is having difficulty getting materials.

“They sometimes don’t even have the product so it is running into delays like that, which is just slowing down getting our product to the marketplace," Edwards said. "But when we do get the product, the inflation rate on something might be 30 to 50%.”

Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurlburt said that the winery owners are not alone in their challenges.

“Farmers are feeling it on the day to day with all the costs of their production increasing," Hurlburt said.

Hurlburt was among state leaders who visited Jonathan Edwards Winery Friday to highlight programs designed to help farmers, including farmer tax exemption permits. According to the CT Dept. of Agriculture, approximately two thirds of Connecticut farmers hold tax exemption permits.

Edwards said that the permit helps him save approximately $1,000 annually on fuel costs.

“Having a little bit lower diesel cost is certainly something that helps," Edwards said.

Connecticut wineries also have access to a new exemption this year that allows them to join breweries in buying manufacturing equipment tax exempt.

"We just bought a bottling line and that will help us," Edwards said.

Governor Ned Lamont acknowledged inflation numbers as distressing. Fuel costs continue to rise and Connecticut's diesel tax is also expected to increase.

“What we are trying to do is do everything we can to make it a little easier for our consumers and small businesses to get by," Lamont said.

The state Dept. of Agriculture is encouraging people to help, too, by visiting farm stands, farmers markets and wineries in Connecticut.

“Make sure they are spending their dollars where it has the best impact for the economy," Hurlburt said.

To find Connecticut Grown products near you, click here.

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