By Clint Thompson
Input costs are high right now for Georgia’s vegetable and specialty crop producers. Charles Hall, executive director of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA), says his farmers can’t bank on prices for freight, fertilizer, diesel and labor to decrease for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t think you can depend on it going away. You’ve just got to be prepared for it. If it does get better that’s great,” Hall said.
“You take your pick on which one’s the worst. All of the input costs, they’ve gotten out of sight. We started off with boxes and pallets back in the early part of the season. If you start looking at what the chemical costs and other input costs are on this, it’s just devastating as far as what growers are having to deal with right now.”
“I think the best we can say is that they’re stabilized. They’re not on a skyrocket increase. There are products available, it’s just the cost. Whether it’s the freight cost, pallet cost or the box cost, at this point it’s more the cost than it is the shortage,” Hall said.
Which begs the question: What can growers do to combat rising input prices? Whatever they can, says Hall.
“I think they’re looking for any way they can cut back,” Hall said. “I think it’s just like any other business. If the opportunity is there to maybe try less fertilizer and see under the premise that if I don’t put out enough fertilizer now, maybe I can get by; or if I can’t get by, then I can put out more foliar later on. That’s just an example of the way they could be thinking.”