Diesel costs and availability have hit poultry growers hard financially during the last few weeks. So hard they may never recover from the expense.
As with diesel, propane costs are expected to climb this winter for poultry growers like Mike Lee. "Fuel last year was running somewhere around $1.03, $1.04 a gallon. This year it's going to run probably $1.60 to $1.70 a gallon," said Lee.
Lee needs about three to four thousand gallons of propane to heat his six broiler houses each time he raises a batch of birds. "The cost adds up real fast," said Lee.
Tyson recognizes the expense. In the interest of maintaining a healthy poultry supply to feed the world, Tyson offers supplemental fuel payments each winter. This year it's a record $26 million for 6800 producers in 13 states. Tyson spokesman Jack Gardner said, "In this Nacogdoches complex we'll pay approximately $580,000 additional fuel pay this year anticipating the higher fuel costs that the growers will see this winter time."
Poultry growers will still pay for some of their fuel. The fuel supplement won't add to poultry grower's income, but the reimbursement will definitely help. Lee explained, "As for as making any more money on my farm, bottom line, probably not, but one thing it does do that I appreciate it, it doesn't cost me more money to operate."
And that's something very important to farmers. They have noone to pass onto their additional expenses.