Farmers develop strategies to reduce energy input costs
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.
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