New Brunswick farmers hit hard by record diesel prices

·2 min read
Christian Michaud, the president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, said the cost of diesel is the main concern for all farmers in New Brunswick. (Submitted/Really Local Harvest - image credit)
Christian Michaud, the president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, said the cost of diesel is the main concern for all farmers in New Brunswick. (Submitted/Really Local Harvest - image credit)

Record high diesel prices in the province could soon hit dinner tables in New Brunswick.

Christian Michaud, the president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, said the price of diesel is the main concern for farmers in the province and he doesn't think there's a farmer unaffected by the increase.

"Diesel fuel is certainly one of our biggest expenses on our farm as it runs almost every piece of equipment we have," said Michaud. "We are very worried that the price of diesel is going to make [it] unaffordable for us to farm anymore."

After back-to-back days of price increases, the cost of diesel in the province hit a record high Saturday morning.

On Tuesday, the price of diesel with delivery stood at 215.5 cents per litre. By Saturday, that price had jumped to 246.9, marking a 31-cent increase in less than a week.

Costs doubled

Michaud said the cost of production at his farm, Michaud Farms in Baie-de-Bouctouche, has doubled in the past year. He said diesel makes up a part of the increase but not all of it.

He sells the produce grown on his farm through a wholesaler, as well as at his own roadside vegetable stand.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

He said he hopes his wholesaler will be kind to him when it comes to the price they are willing to pay, since they will also see higher costs because of fuel prices.

As for his stand, he said he expects prices may have to go up.

"We're going to have to adjust somewhat to be able to pay our bills and survive," said Michaud.

"If people can't pay what we need to pay our bills, we won't survive. And if we sell for less and we can't pay our bills, we won't survive."

Food security

Earlier in the pandemic, the government made food sustainability and security a priority.

But Michaud said farmers are getting older as a group, and there are fewer young people willing to enter the industry. With the increased cost of living, farming becomes less attractive.

Submitted by Megz Reynolds
Submitted by Megz Reynolds

"You have to be incredibly smart to be a farmer right now, but incredibly stupid to try," said Michaud.

He said he's hoping customers will continue to support local farmers, even if the cost of food has to go up.

"I know it's getting harder for everybody, but it's the same scenario for us, maybe even more so," said Michaud.

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