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Mid-Michigan farmer forced to create different events, services due to inflation

The increase in inflation is impacting local farmers when it comes to the price of fuels, fertilizers, and insecticides.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT
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FREELAND, Mich. (WNEM) - The increase in inflation is impacting local farmers when it comes to the price of fuels, fertilizers, and insecticides.

“We had to make a decision about do we go full tilt? Do we have to scale back? Do we stop doing certain things,” said John Leaman, co-owner of Leaman’s Green Applebarn.

As the weather heats up, mid-Michigan farmers head out into their fields to begin the growing season.

This year’s crop may come at an extra upfront cost as inflation hits the economy - and farmers - hard.

“Everything from fuels to fertilizer to the insecticides or other sprays that we need to put on the trees, everything that we’ve seen an increase in,” Leaman said.

Leaman has had to make some tough decisions in the wake of rising inflation. One decision he cannot avoid is spending more money on certain items needed to run his farm.

“We pay $1 and a half more a gallon this year to fill the gas tank in the diesel tanks. And that’s something that we can’t cut back on. The tractors aren’t gonna allow you to operate on less fuel,” Leaman said.

Leaman is hoping to combat the effects of inflation by hosting different events like goat yoga to increase his income.

“We have a pavilion just over this way a little, little ways that we’ve used in the fall for our customers to sit down at, and instead of just using that in the fall, we make it available to people in the summer, spring they can use for wedding showers, baby showers,” Leaman said.

He hopes by offering different services and experiences to his customers it will allow him to continue operating without having to increase prices to even out his balance sheet.

“What we’d really like to do is increase the volume of our sales and that will allow us to perhaps avoid changing prices of things or at least changing them as much,” Leaman said.

Leaman is also finding ways to cut back on some of his upfront costs like labor hours by looking into more efficient equipment and shopping around for deals on items needed to run the business.