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From the tractor to the world


Church members in agriculture share views on rising food costs
The slums of Haiti and the plains of western Kenya seem far removed from the Schertz Feed Store in Sanger, Texas.
But signs of increasing food prices are almost as apparent.
Wheat sells for about $8 per bushel — twice the price it brought in three years ago, said Randy Bentley, a member of the Sanger church who works in the store and harvests crops with the owner, fellow church member Kerry Lee Schertz.
That seems like good news for farmers, “but all of the inputs are up,” Bentley said. Fertilizer and labor costs have increased, and fuel to operate tractors and combines costs hundreds of dollars per day.
Nonetheless, farmers are reaping the benefits of increased demand for wheat, corn and soybeans, said
Steven Tucker, who grows all three on his farm in rural Nebraska.
“Unfortunately, (the farmers’ profit) has to come at the expense of people who must pay for their food,” said Tucker, a member of the Ogallala, Neb., church.
Many consumers blame ethanol fuel production for increases in the price of corn and foods made from it.
That may be true, Tucker said, but increasing demands of consumers around the globe likely play a greater role.
During the long hours driving his tractor, Tucker listens to podcasts on a variety of subjects. He pointed to statistics that show increased standards of living and decreased infant mortality rates in the past 40 years — even in developing nations. Prices of fuel and food are increasing to meet world demand.
In terms of economics and health care, “things are getting better all over the world,” Tucker said. However, “we need constantly to be reminded how blessed we are — and how much a need there still is.”
Read additional thoughts from Steven Tucker’s blog, “The View From the Tractor.”

Filed under: International

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