HENRY COUNTY, Ind. — Farmers across Indiana and the country are scraping by this year because of inflation prices. Many are barely getting by. Some are using new ways to help generate cash flow by selling their products online.
Fourth-generation farmer Kyle Becker of Becker Farms, northeast of New Castle, is eating into equity every day with a two year leeway to make up for lost money or he will have to resort to selling land.
Becker hasn't raised prices to make up for the extent of his costs. This year, they'll have to borrow money against the equity built during the pandemic to stay afloat.
"The farm part is the easy part," he said. "It's when you're at the desk and you're trying to pay bills, that's the challenge, and the meetings with the banker this year. The last year the banker has been excited, and this year, the banker is not going to be very excited," Becker said.
Cost of production at Becker Farms in Mooreland, Indiana, is up by 43-to-48 percent, depending on the week. Fertilizer, fuel and packaging were hit hardest.
"Just the price of our sausage, just the processing, is up basically double because the packaging cost is double. So, it's not only the processor is paying the employees more to retain them because they can go somewhere else for more money, also, the cost of the packaging because of the price of fuel and physically being able to get it," Becker explained.
Becker, who sells his produce at farmers markets, relies on Market Wagon for cash flow and a further reach. Business done through the Market Wagon website now accounts for 30 percent of Becker's sales. The site acts as a middle man to deliver produce right to customers' doorsteps in 19 counties of central Indiana from Bloomington to Lafayette. This allows farmers like Becker to spend more time on the farm.
Around 200 farmers and food producers are on Market Wagon in Indiana. It's also available in markets across the country. In the next couple of months, Becker Farms plans expand to other states through Market Wagon.