Managing Agricultural Energy Costs

All sectors of our economy, in every corner of our nation, rely heavily upon affordable energy resources to stay competitive. But here in the Midwest, the availability of affordable crude oil resources takes on an added importance because of how important the agricultural economy is to our region. Farming has, for generations, been the cornerstone of the region’s economic landscape. And as farmers know firsthand, energy costs weigh heavily on the sector’s bottom line.

No sector depends more heavily on affordable energy than does the agricultural sector, both directly – through the use of diesel fuel, gasoline, oil and other lubricants, propane, natural gas, and more – and indirectly through the use of agricultural chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides. Fuels produced from crude oil meet the lion’s share of those needs, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Infrastructure projects like Dakota Access are poised to help the United States to assert greater control over domestic energy prices by delivering a steady stream of domestic crude oil to American refineries. This makes us less reliant on oil from unstable foreign allies – or adversaries – and insulates us from price fluctuations and spikes witnessed on the global market.

Today’s low energy prices have been a blessing for farmers. But history shows us that these price dynamics are fluid, and that events on the world stage or spikes in global demand can send prices through the roof in an instant. Bolstering our ability to meet our own energy demands through ample domestic supply and an updated and efficient energy transportation network provides farmers with the stability that they need to plan, and does all that we as a nation can do to keep prices under control for farmers and countless other energy consumers.