How corn hitting its highest price in 10 years affects Nebraska farmers

WAVERLY, Neb. (KLKN) – It has been a busy and expensive few months down on the Peterson farm.

With the cost of tractor repair, fuel and now fertilizer all going up, it’s taking a big chunk of their change.

“We booked our fertilizer for this year’s crop last August, and that had already doubled the price that we were paying from the year before, and if we had not booked already, it would have doubled again,” Paula Peterson said.

Now the price of corn is hitting its highest since 2012. Corn futures climbed to about $8 a bushel Monday. At the beginning of the year, it was around $6.

For corn growers like the Petersons, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

They say rising corn prices benefit them but won’t change their day to day too much.

“We have had a lot of years where the price has been really, really low, and the prices that are going up right now are going to help carry this year’s crop price a little higher,” Peterson said. “We have already sold a little bit of this year’s crop, even though it’s not in the ground, at a very, very decent price that we wouldn’t have had if the price wasn’t bringing it up.”

Peterson said she’d actually like to see prices level off because it’s not sustainable for prices to keep rising.

Right now, input costs are going up at a higher rate than farmers are able to sell corn for.

“If we could find a good balance between a decent crop price and a decent yield and get the inputs to stabilize, that would be a win-win,” Peterson said.

She believes that there are a few reasons for the soaring prices, such as the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine.

No matter the price, the Peterson family’s main goal is to keep farming for the next generation.

“I’m a fourth-generation (farmer), and we have got the fifth and sixth coming behind us,” Peterson said. “My grandson already wants to be out here, so our goal is to do everything we can to stay as sustainable as we can, and higher prices doesn’t always make that happen.”

Ninety percent of the corn produced in Nebraska goes to ethanol and cattle feed.

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