Idaho farmers facing inflation with higher expenses

Posted at 6:06 PM, Apr 17, 2023

NEW PLYMOUTH, Idaho — While the U.S. inflation rate has declined recently, the country saw large rates last year. Those rates have impacted people at the grocery store and the gas pump and the farmers in the fields of Idaho.

According to the University of Idaho, Idaho farmers had over $11 Billion in revenue in 2022, however, they also had over $8.9 Billion in expenses in the same year. The expenses were up from $7.4 Billion in 2021.

“At the end of the day, profit is still income minus expenses so you’ve gotta be watching what those costs are," Said Galen Lee, who runs Sunnyside Farm in New Plymouth. “We made more money last year than we’ve ever made, but we’ve spent more money too.”

Lee says the price of everything has gone up, including labor, fertilizer, and fuel. Another thing impacting their bottom line is the interest rates.

In part because of the rising costs, the Lee family had to sell their dairy cows, something that was difficult for them to do.

“They've been here my whole life," Lee said. "They’ve been here my mom’s whole life, she’s from this farm so it was tough to do. It was emotional and difficult but it needed to happen.”

While these last few years have been particularly rough, he says he still loves what he does.

“There’s always ups and downs and always challenges and if it was easy anybody could do it," Lee said. "But we just enjoy the variety in enjoying the change.”