TROY — With each passing year, the challenges facing Miami County farmers grow larger yet they continue to rise to them.
The Sutherly family has been in the farming business for four generations, raising both crops and livestock. They currently farm 1.800 acre, most of it in Miami County. The Sutherlys also own Miami Valley Feed and Grain in New Carlisle.
Sam Suthely said that rising cost are impacting the agriculture industry more than anything else.
“It used to cost around $500-600 an acre to produce a crop,” said Sutherly, “but it now runs somewhere between $750-800 per acre.”
Fertilizer costs have been a constant concern, having skyrocketed during COVID. Although Suthely added that the prices are currently falling again, fertilizer suppliers are mostly from foreign markets, and U.S. farmers are at the mercy of foreign suppliers.
Sutherly went on that, in addition to all of the other factors, weather is one of the largest factors and no one can predict what each year will bring. He said crop insurance that is available to farmers does a lot to take some of the stress out of the job.
Another financial challenge for farmers is equipment costs. Both new and used farm equipment costs are skyrocketing. Suthely said a new combine — a necessary piece of equipment for harvesting corn, wheat, and soybeans — will cost around $450,00.
All of these factors are causing a number of farm families to call it quits.
“We are losing somewhere between 1,000 acres of farm and 2,000 acres of farm land every year,” said Sutherly.
With all of that in mind, Miami County farmers continue to work the ground to provide food for the table, learning how to stretch every dollar and keep the tradition of the American farmer alive and well.
“It (farming) is a great way of life,” said Sutherly, “my motto has always been, ‘Tough times never last, tough people do.’