Farmers develop strategies to reduce energy input costs

Bar chart showing farmer's varied practices to reduce fertilizer and fuel cost in 2006.

Between 2002 and 2008, fuel and fertilizer prices rose sharply, thereby contributing to substantially higher expenses for farm energy-intensive inputs. The escalation in energy prices prompted farmers to develop energy-saving strategies and adopt practices to use energy-intensive inputs more efficiently. USDA's 2006 Agricultural Resource Management Survey asked farmers about their use of energy-saving strategies. According to the results of the survey, about a fourth of all U.S. farms reduced energy use or employed energy-intensive inputs more efficiently. The most common practices used to lower fuel expenses were keeping engines properly serviced, making fewer trips over a field, and reducing the quantity of fuel used. About 40 percent of farmers who negotiated fuel price discounts were able to reduce fuel prices by at least 5 percent. This figure appeared in the March 2011 issue of Amber Waves.

Download larger size chart (500 pixels by 320, 96 dpi)