Here’s what high fuel prices mean for farmers and crops in Ontario

Greater Toronto Area farmers are feeling an added frustration this growing season with the high price of fuel.

“We just have to buy it and use it,” farmer Bill Eek, who grows carrots and onions on 90 acres of land in Holland Marsh, told CTV News Toronto Wednesday.

The price of diesel has been steadily increasing since last spring and is now around two dollars a litre, taking more money out of pockets.

“It all depends how much we have to irrigate, if we get enough rain, it won’t be that bad, but if we have to irrigate like we did last summer, it will have an impact,” he said.

Another Holland Marsh-area farmer told CTV News Toronto the price of fuel is affecting the amount of food being grown this year and has reduced planting by 20 per cent.

At nearby Hillside Gardens, beyond fuel, add in the increased cost of fertilizer and packaging, like cardboard and plastic bags into mix., and the 1,000 acre farm is seeing a 40 per cent increase to grow crops such as carrots, cauliflower, onions and celery.

Beth Macdonell/CTV News Toronto

Farmers aren’t just paying more upfront this season. Some fear, once the food is ready for the store, retailers won’t pay the higher prices to cover the cost of growing it.

Over at Holland Marsh Wineries, about 30 per cent of the operation is farming, although the biggest increases to their operation are from suppliers of bottles, corks and labels. Narek Nersisyan and his family have been trying to plan ahead.

“We knew some of these costs were going to trickle down to us so we started purchasing ahead because a lot of these products we already know we are going to use, it’s just a matter of time,” Nersisyan said.

He and other growers shop at the supermarket too and want to keep prices down, but when it comes to fresh food, farmers take the price from the grocery stores.

“We’ll do the best we can, everything is going up,” Eek said.

Eek hopes the weather cooperates and he doesn’t need extra fuel for the farm. 

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