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Pesticide prices affecting Nueces County farmers

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Posted at 8:09 AM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 11:00:03-04

Local farmers are still dealing with the domino effects of the drought, whether it impacts the crops and their cattle. Now, adding to the mix prices for fertilizer and pesticide have also increased.

“Pesticides and herbicides and insecticides that we use, they’ve gone up significantly,” Nueces County farmer Scott Frazier said while walking his field.

According to agriculture experts, there's been a 30- 40% increase on certain pesticides causing availability and financial issues. While the price of fertilizer has gone up between 100-250% since September 2020.

"Well, we use some herbicides for instances that help the weeds from going, and we use some herbicides that we spray on weeds when they come up and we spray 'em and kill 'em. There’s a number we use," said Frazier.

Frazier told us with the increase in prices on fertilizer, hes had to adjust his budget for pesticide prices increasing.

“We try to work our timing out, maybe we will wait a few days. Try to get by with one spray instead of two, or something like that depending on the conditions to make it work out the best we can," he said.

Texas' largest farm organization said the price increase on pesticides mirrors the reasons why fertilizer prices went up. First, the decline in prices during COVID-19 which lead to production decrease, then the demand went up for fertilizer and pesticides and the product supply is not available.

In February 2021, Texas experienced the big freeze, putting a strain on natural gasses. Hurricanes impacting the gulf coast, labor shortages, countries putting export bans, and the recent Russia and Ukraine conflict.

“Production facilities, whether it's related to labor or transportation, and also just trying to get some of the product ingredients that are manufactured elsewhere and getting them to a production plant here in the United States," said Brant Wilbourn, Associate Director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities at Texas Farm Bureau.

As farmers wait on mother nature to deliver some much needed rain in the south, Wilbourn said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on a $250 million bill to ramp up fertilizer production to help farmers in the long run.

"Like many industries, agriculture is being hit by rising costs and extremely tight margins," Barry Belanger, the Business Unit Director South for Simplot Grower Solutions said in a statment. "Not only are farmers seeing cost increases in pesticides and other crop inputs but also in equipment, fuel and other operational expenses.

"We understand this is bound to be a difficult year for our customers, and our team is working diligently to offer innovative cost saving solutions aimed at more efficient products and resource use, as a way to combat some of these issues."