NewsPolk County


Inflation hitting local farmers as production costs rise

Crops at Astin Farms
Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 17, 2022

PLANT CITY, Fla. — Every year is a gamble for farmers, but inflation is raising the stakes.

“We’ve been through a lot of stuff and seen a lot of things and this one right here, this is going to be a tough one,” said Tres McQuaig, farm manager at Astin Farms.

The farm manager of Astin Farms in Plant City said inflation is really taking a toll on the cost of production. He is having to spend more on key items like fertilizer.

“Within the past week, it’s increased 15%. A lot of the staple items that we use in our day-to-day operations, everything has increased anywhere from fuel to freight,” McQuaig said.

The strawberries they grow are sold at Publix, Walmart, and Aldi. Though there has been a supermarket price surge; Astin Farms is not charging more for their crops, which is hurting their bottom line.

“The stuff that we’re selling now was set up months ago, so we’re going off those prices. Unfortunately, that’s impacting us,” McQuaig said.

McQuaig said eventually they will have to raise prices.

Parkesdale Farmer's Market

“Going forward we’re definitely going to have to ask for more for our crops to try to compensate that, which is sad because it goes directly to the consumer but there’s no other way around it,” McQuaig said.

Over at Parkesdale Market, they have already begun seeing soaring prices from wholesalers. Jim Meeks, the owner of the farmers market, said prices on fresh produce have gone up between 20% to 100%.

“We’ve had to increase prices on things that we’ve left alone for years. We had apples for $0.99 and bananas for $0.50 a pound for probably 10 or 12 years. Only recently this year, we’ve had to go up to $1.29 and $0.69 accordingly,” said Jim Meeks, owner of Parksdale Market.

Meeks said if production costs continue to rise, farmers may cut back on what they grow next year.

“They’ll have to grow something else. If they don’t grow it, I can't sell it,” he said.

Farmers said buying local, is one way you can support local farmers and the local economy.

“We’re really thankful for everybody that supports us and enjoys our products and we really want to continue what we’re doing,” McQuaig said.