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Cost to produce corn rising 40% per acre. What does that mean for you at the checkout line?

"30-percent increase is probably not out of the question"
Posted at 11:18 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 23:18:42-05

Watch this report Friday on TMJ4 News at 10 p.m.

IXONIA, Wis. — In our Two Americas report, we show you why your grocery prices will only get higher.

Farmers we spoke to in Southeast Wisconsin say they are paying about 40 percent more per acre to grow and harvest more corn alone.

Sixth generation farmer Kyle Zwieg says his Ixonia farm is being hit with price hikes from four different directions: the cost of fuel, worker shortages, and the most worrying - shortages of herbicides and fertilizer.


This is not just tough on his 1,400 acre farm. You should also brace for price hikes at your grocery store.


We asked Zwieg how much more it may cost us. He answered: "30 percent increase is probably not out of the question."

The most costly is the fertilizer. "We've seen bottom line costs up to triple depending upon the product, so that's the hardest one to swallow," said Zwieg.

Along with supply chain issues, it is made worse with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. "It just affects availability of products because some of the eastern producers of fertilizer isn't flowing to market as it should," said Zwieg.

Not to mention the fuel hikes for all of us. "Larger equipment tanks are requiring 120 gallons to 150 gallons on certain days to operate," explains Zwieg.

Herbicides for weed control are also caught in supply chain backlogs in Asia. Hiring here at home is nearly impossible for Zwieg.

All of this has a trickle down effect, as corn production could affect anything from the price of beef to even ethanol production.

Zwieg says it could take months for a consumer to see the price increases. "They're operating on old costs for a while until those materials are used up and they have to buy new food costs," he said.

Zwieg believes consumer price inflation could last for about eight months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Director for Wisconsin, Julie Lassa, tells us they are closely monitoring for price gougers. "Which obviously hurts all consumers," Lassa said. "We do want to make sure that you have a level playing field and that consumers including farmers are not being hurt by it."

For Zwieg, he is doing everything in his power to ensure his family farm is strong enough for a seventh generation and beyond.

Hear from Port Washington apple farmer Ed Callahan about the long process for a farmer to switch to become a fully certified organic farmer.

Becoming a fully certified organic farmer

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