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Are Diesel Prices Paving the Way Toward Food Shortages?

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

While prices of oil and diesel fuel continue to rise, many experts believe that this, along with rising inflation and the continued war in Europe,  is paving the way for dreaded food shortages in the US. 

“For so long, we’ve enjoyed lots of food in this country, so we’ve never ever faced a food shortage and I think that’s coming in the coming months,” John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, said during an interview on NewsNation’s “On Balance” with Leland Vitterton Monday.

The average national price of diesel on Monday reached a staggering $5.70 per gallon, which represents a $2.40 increase compared to the same period last year.

Farmers rely on diesel to fuel their tractors and other heavy farm machinery that is used to plant and harvest crops, which burns up to thousands of gallons a month, depending on the size of their farms, and the machines they need to harvest their crops. 

Feeling the punch at the pump, farmers can very well decide to stop planting certain crops so that they save money on fuel, but this, in turn, will almost certainly result in higher food prices and possible food shortages in months to come. 

During this week’s hearing on inflation which was held by the Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee, Kyle Kotzmoyer, a legislative affairs specialist for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, offered what can be called a bleak outlook where he described the current situation on local farms as “teetering on the edge”.

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“If the farmers cannot get crops out of the ground, then there is not food on the shelves,” the Farm Bureau aide explained. In Pennsylvania, average diesel prices last week were $6.19 per gallon, which is a 75% increase compared to last year, AAA reported.

Kotzmoyer said he is already hearing of farmers opting to plant hay instead of corn or beans because it is more economical.

JohnBoyd, who is the head of the National Black Farmers Association, told NewsNation that staples like corn, corn syrup, and soy, which farmers produce daily and are ingredients found in just about everything we eat,  help put other produce on grocery store shelves, including dairy products, eggs, and meat.

If farmers can no longer afford to refuel the machinery that harvests their crops, which are vital for food production, shortages will inevitably follow. 

The Labor Department announced last week that grocery store prices rose 11.9% in May over the past year amid soaring inflation, which hit a 40-year high of 8 .6%  also in May.

The Biden administration continues to blame the ongoing crisis in Europe as well as push back from Republicans for the rising cost of oil, the rise in inflation, the supply chain breakdown, and every other failure this administration has reigned down upon the US. Somehow, it is always someone else’s fault. The majority of Americans at this point just want to stop the runaway train. Hopefully, it will be stopped in its tracks this November.