Rising fuel prices are putting pressure on local farmers and ranchers

Farmers face tough choices as high diesel prices cut into their bottom lines
Posted at 6:37 PM, Feb 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-02 21:13:45-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Rising diesel costs has impacted local farmers and ranchers who need diesel to run their equipment, especially with their spring planting season right around the corner

"We'll start planting corn and then we'll start with grain sorghum, and then cotton right after that,” Scott Frazier, the owner of Thunder Cattle Company said.

Planting the spring crop takes time, energy, and a lot of equipment.

"Most of our tractors in this area probably run 12 to 15 gallons an hour. The bigger ones are 20 to 30 gallons an hour,” Frazier said.

Frazier said he'll use his equipment for almost an entire day, which equates to about 2,500 gallons of fuel needed to have a good harvest and in turn make money.

David Ocker tends to his farm on Chapman Ranch and he’s facing the same struggles.

"Diesel has become a big problem. It's more than doubled over the last couple of years. It's one of our largest expenses when it comes to raising cotton and grain sorghum,” Ocker said.

Ocker's tractors plow 4,500 acres to prepare the soil for planting. His tractor's fuel tank can hold 300 gallons of diesel, which is about three days worth of work.

"That used to be 1,500 and now it's about $4,000. When I pull up to the pump, its $1,000 a minute,” Ocker said.

Planting for the spring crop begins in about two weeks. Ocker tells us although the cost is high, his diesel supplier gives farmers and ranchers priority so they get a tax break on what they use to plow their fields.