BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Out on an open field of dark soil in western Palm Beach County, Keith Wedgeworth talked about the rising costs he's facing just to farm these days.
"I just want the consumers to know as they're feeling the pinch at the gas stations, we're also feeling it on the farm," he said.
Wedgeworth had four large machines guided by laser out leveling the field to plant the summer crop of rice.
"To run one of these tractors alone is about a thousand dollars a day just in fuel costs alone," Wedgeworth said.
Those costs are easily double what he was paying a year ago, and now the high cost of diesel will likely mean he'll harvest this rice crop in 90 days at a financial loss.
"Me and a couple guys were talking this morning what we're seeing," Wedgeworth said. "We'll probably be losing money this year."
Eventually, those higher costs will find their way down the line and affect consumers.
"Sooner or later, you know, people will start seeing it more and more at the grocery store," Wedgeworth said. "Just your milk and sugar and everything that comes from a farm will have to go up to make sure that we're sustainable."
Fuel prices have retreated recently from record-highs, but they haven't dropped low enough to have any positive impact, Wedgeworth said.
"Farmers from South Florida to the Midwest, every farmer's feeling this pinch," he said.