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Montana Ag Network: $33 trillion deficit has lingering effects on agriculture

Posted at 8:22 AM, Sep 21, 2023

WASHINGTON D.C. — Earlier this week, Congress released that the nation’s debt has grown to $33 trillion. A light at the end of the tunnel that seems to be pushed further for Ag producers.

“What we're dealing with in farm country right now is deflation. And frankly, that's a that's a bigger hurt than inflation is,” said Brett DeBruycker, a Teton County Farmer and Rancher.

DeBruycker says that cattle prices remain at a record high, but the concern goes further for all sectors of agriculture.

“We've seen the price of wheat and corn drop precipitously. That's not a good situation for farmer's income.” He added.

To combat inflation, for example, wheat farmers are faced with a $5.50 reference price for a bushel. One bushel of wheat makes approximately 42 commercial loaves of white bread, 90 for whole grain.

Montana has one of the highest bread prices in the nation, resting at $4.00. Do the math, at market 42 loaves of bread at $4.00 a piece, isn’t close to what farmers put in their wallets.

Many factors play a role in where the market sits on reference prices coupled with inflation.

“If I were sitting on the Ag Committee, what I would look at as I take a look at the inflation in agriculture; I would try to raise the price to match the inflation and then I would continue to have that inflation reference in the Farm Bill. So, each year it would go up, potentially could go down if there was deflation, but probably go up as inflation goes in. But it certainly has it needs to be higher than $5.50.” Senator Tester shared.

Fuel prices have also soared at or above $4.00 per gallon. This a concern for Congressman Matt Rosendale who says that energy is the fuel to our economy.

“Energy impacts everything. It impacts food, it impacts manufacturing, it impacts distribution. Unfortunately, those that are on the lower end of the income scale and it impacts them worse than anyone else.” Rosendale said.

Senator Steve Daines criticizes the Biden Administration for cutting back on Crude Oil production in the United States and prioritizing Chinese-made lithium batteries.

 “This is a radical agenda from the left. We've got to be protecting our baseload power, a balanced view of energy production. It's important for ag economy in Montana.”

Head to Pondera County and inflation stress has turned into mere frustration.

“Inflation has made it so hard to be a producer because what happens is the price of everything goes up except for the price of what we're selling,” shared Trina Bradley, a Rancher north of Dupuyer.

While the House of Representatives continues to fight over the Federal budget, farmers and ranchers in Montana are mounting production expenses.

“I really think it's time for these people, these politicians, to just grow up and get to work. They've been elected to do a job. And, you know, it'd be best if they just go and work for the people that elected them.” DeBruycker added.



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