Oregon Aglink Blog

Executive Notes: Easing the Burden of the Most Expensive Crop in Decades

Posted on November 4, 2022
A young woman smiling in a wheat field. The superimposed text reads "Executive Notes"
Oregon Aglink Executive Director Mallory Phelan

Not everyone understands how much farmers spend to run their businesses.

Even with farms surrounding the area, students from the Silverton Middle School were shocked to learn it costs farmers over thirty thousand dollars to fertilize a 250 acre field of perennial ryegrass. On an Adopt a Farmer field trip in early October, nearly one hundred and fifty students from the eighth grade classes at Silverton Middle School used math problems to learn about different activities on Victor Point Farms throughout the seasons. At one of six stations, students calculated various farm costs on three different fields for things like fertilizing, spraying, combining, trucking, and more. We also talked about the volatility of pricing for inputs, unexpected expenses, and costs that weren’t listed on their worksheets. 

One common conclusion for students that day? Farming is expensive.

That is truer today than any other time in recent years. The cost to run farm and ranch operations is rising with inflation and in some cases outpacing it. According to the University of Illinois, a broad measure of farm input costs is up 15.6% over the past 12 months with fertilizer and diesel costs increasing 47%-179% over the same period. It’s fair to say that this year’s crops will be the most expensive grown in decades. The costs seem like they’re mounting with many contributing factors and it’s hard to predict what will come next.

While there are a lot of expenses that are difficult to control, I wanted to make sure you know of a concrete way your farm, ranch, ag supply, food or beverage company can save money: thanks to your annual membership dues, you have access to Oregon Aglink’s group health insurance program. By using our larger group buying power, we bargain for our rates to make sure our members have access to better plans at better rates than offered through the retail market now. We’ve had dozens of members already save money with this new benefit – hundreds of dollars a month, and depending on their size, sometimes thousands. 

Health insurance might not be a benefit that you have been able to offer, but if you’re considering it or you are offering it currently, now is a really good time to check your current rates against our Association Health Plan. It’s completely free to do and our participating members say it’s been worth their time to compare the savings!

While annual membership dues support the necessary work of linking Oregonians to farms and ranches through educational programs, we also know that the hard earned dollars you make today don’t seem to go as far as they used to. It’s important to us that you’re aware of other benefits of being a member of Oregon Aglink that can help cut costs without sacrificing something else to keep your operation profitable.

If you’re not a current Oregon Aglink member, you can join at any time on our website www.aglink.org – and if you’re interested in more information on our health plans, email me at [email protected] or call me at 971-600-0466.

Mallory Phelan

Executive Director

Oregon Aglink