Local News

Increased food demand means increased costs for farmers

Posted August 17, 2011 5:56 p.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2011 6:54 p.m. EDT

— Local farmers say they are feeling the brunt of the increased demand of corn and soybeans from overseas, particularly China.

CBS News reported Tuesday that, for the past three years, the country has been importing more than half of the United States' soy exports.

Although it means more business for corn and soybean farmers, it also means higher feed costs for livestock and, likely, higher food costs for consumers.

According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the price of a bushel of corn has gone up $4.76 over the past five years – from $2.42 in August 2006 to $7.18 in August 2011.

The prices for soybeans have also skyrocketed $7.68 – from $5.38 a bushel in August 2006 to $13.06 today.

Michael Jones says the cost to feed the 165 hogs on his Louisburg farm amounts to about $1,000 a week.

And although sales have been the best they have ever been, he's not turning a profit because of the high costs of corn and soybeans. Other factors, such as rising gas prices, are also forcing him to scale back operations, cutting out extra hands on the farm.

"It is getting more difficult for someone like myself to provide cheap food to people," Jones said. "I know a lot of people have already folded."