Doug Zorn posts up for a photo at his North Fork farm Friday, March 11. Photo courtesy of Doug Zorn

Doug Zorn posts up for a photo at his North Fork farm Friday, March 11. Photo courtesy of Doug Zorn

Boundary food prices climb amid Ukrainian conflict, climate change

Grain shortage, rising fuel costs putting the pinch on all consumers

Rampant inflation is driving up the price of bacon across the Boundary, according to a food producer and a feed supplier in Grand Forks.

The same is true for the price of milk and dairy, eggs and poultry — fruits and vegetables, too.

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Doug Zorn, a North Fork pork and poultry producer, said climate change and the war in Ukraine have led to a critical grain shortage on world markets.

The Ukraine, long-considered the bread basket of the world, isn’t exporting grain now that the country is under siege by Russia’s invasion force. At the same time, Western sanctions against Russia are blocking grain exports from the world’s largest country.

Successive droughts across the Canadian prairies have curbed grain production (especially of wheat) in the world’s second largest country, he said.

This has driven up the cost of animal feed across the Boundary.

Zorn, who raises around 400 chickens every year, said the price of chicken feed per tonne jumped nearly 23 per cent from around $600 in 2021 to around $750 in March. Using roughly one tonne every month, he can expect to pay more than $1,000 in extra chicken feed costs this year.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine is driving up costs for food producers daily,” he said.

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Much of this can be chalked up to rising fuel prices.

It’s a four-hour drive from Zorn’s farm in rural Grand Forks to the abattoir he uses in Salmon Arm. His fuel costs would be higher still if the slaughter house didn’t deliver processed meat to a cut and wrap facility in Vernon, a service Zorn said wasn’t free.

Increased production costs will always impact consumers, Zorn and Carol English, co-owner at Nick’s Feed Centre, told The Gazette.

“What it cost us last year to get a load of seed potatoes out of Edmonton is now double. Where it was $1,000 per truck, it’s $2,000 this year, mostly due to the bump in fuel prices,” English said.

Myriad other factors have left everyone paying more at the grocery store, but climate change is certainly a big one.

“The heat dome last year? That affected a whole host of local fruit and vegetable producers. It was a killer,” she said.

The price of animal feed has climbed sharply in the last two months alone, she continued.

“We have to watch our invoices every week. This is affecting everything from the price of grain to the price of dog food. And there’s never any warning. The costs just keep rising.”

Whether you farm or ranch, sell feed, or buy food retail, “We’re all consumers in the end,” she said.


 

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laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

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laurie.tritschler@boundarycreektimes.com

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