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'Everything seems to be against you' | Farmers struggle as feed, fuel impact bottom line

"Fuel, feed, and fertilizer – those three things we need to be able to raise a good product, and those things have doubled in cost."

CHESTER, S.C. — The people putting food on your table are not sure what the future holds for them.  Farmers are paying almost double for feed and fuel this year compared to what they were paying last year. 

"Fuel, feed, and fertilizer – those three things we need to be able to raise a good product, and those things have doubled in cost," said Amy Thames with Thames Farm in Chester County. "It does put a hurting on a small farmer.” 

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Thames Farm is altogether about 82 acres. The farm produces pasture-raised pork, chicken, and beef, as well as free-range eggs. Thames herself is a multi-generational farmer who has a passion for her work.  She starts her day with the sun, and regularly works 10 to 12-hour days. 

"With the small farmer, you build relationships with your customer," she said. "They're not just a blank face sitting across the counter that you don't know." 

This is why Thames can’t raise her prices much without the risk of losing her customers. However, rising costs put her livelihood and her life's work at risk. 

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She said she’s paying $500 more a month for feed compared to this time last year. The price of fuel is also nearly double what it was in 2021.

Thames said if prices on produce sting, it may get worse when costs farmers are bearing now are passed down to the consumer.

"It takes about 9 months to get [a] pig up to butcher size," she said. "Well, this is the most expensive time that we’ve ever had to raise anything.” 

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Thames said both big and small farms are impacted by the prices. She had planned to expand her farm, but those plans are now on hold as she’s just trying to hang on.

“My faith will get me through. I know that everything is going to be fine, but it’s hard when everything seems to be kind of against you," she said.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

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