Inflation and drought take their toll on farmers and ranchers

Oklahoma farmers and ranchers can’t seem to catch a break as they continue to deal with circumstances out of their control, like inflation and the recent drought.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Everyone’s been struggling to deal with inflation and the folks in the agriculture business around Lawton are no different. Mostly, they’re worried about being able to make it to the next season, in fear that their families’ multi-generational farms will end with them.

Oklahoma farmers and ranchers can’t seem to catch a break as they continue to deal with circumstances out of their control, like inflation and the recent drought. Both are beginning to take a toll on their wallets and mental health.

Local grass farmer Susan Howell said her production rates are down by 25% because of the drought.

“The effects of the twin sister drought and inflation, I think everyone is well aware of our rainfall situation and what it does to agriculture,” Howell said.

Susan also said many farmers and ranchers have passed their farms down for generations, and the pressure of maintaining the tradition can take a mental toll.

“You toss and turn at night, and you wake up thinking about it. And, to think that we would lose it after all of that is just, you can’t really wrap your head around that,” Howell said.

Jimmy Kinder, a 4th generation farmer and rancher, said when drought and inflation affect the business it is very personal.

“It’s more than a job for us, it’s a way of life. It’s who we are, it’s who we were raised to be. So, whenever you have financial trouble on the farm. It’s a lot of guilt there because your forefather has spent a lot of time and money to get you where you are,” Jimmy Kinder said.

His cousin Jeremy Kinder, a local rancher, said most times farmers and ranchers don’t talk about their struggles.

“It takes a toll on you mentally, because we’re so passionate about this business. That’s the other thing, there is no plan B’s a lot of times in this operation. So, this is our passion, this our drive, this is what we wake up and enjoy doing and what we want to do. And, just not venting about it and not talking about it can harbor a lot of things that are not helpful and healthy,” Jeremy Kinder said.

Unfortunately, people don’t think things are going to get better any time soon.

“Prices are soaring and farmers don’t escape that, in fact, were caught in a bit of a grind. If you need fuel, if you need feed, because of the drought you need extra feed for your livestock,” Howell said.

Despite the obstacles, they’re committed to their work.

“People need to realize that when they go to the supermarket they’re going to see some higher prices. The drought is part of it and inflation is part of it. And, we’re going to continue to feed the United States, we’re going to feed Oklahomans and people in Lawton, Oklahoma. We’re going to continue to feed you and we’re proud to do so,” Jimmy Kinder said.

Governor Kevin Stitt has issued an Executive Order to deliver drought relief to farmers in parts of Oklahoma hit hardest by current drought conditions.