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Colorado farmers adjust to impacts of inflation, war on Ukraine

CALHAN, Colo. (KRDO) -- Everything from inflation to gas prices to the economic cost of war in Ukraine is now having an impact on Colorado farmers. They say they're now forced to adjust work, including how they farm and kicking up the cost of what they sell.

Katie Belle Miller owns and operates Heritage Belle Farms in Calhan, about 35 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. On over 100 acres of land, she has Texas longhorns, goats, turkeys, chickens and ducks, and other cattle. She says the farm takes a holistic approach to farming, like giving her livestock grass-feeds.

“We are a regenerative ranch, and so we map out and plan what our grazing is gonna be, and we carry only the amount of animals that our land can sustainably hold," Miller says. "We’re not really needing to bring in too many outside supplies or cost, so that does kind of keep our cost down.”

Miller also owns and operates SoCo Virtual Farmers Market. There, she and other farmers around Southern Colorado have been able to support and teach one another how to sustainably grow in harmony with nature, a practice she says pays off.

“We have decided not to increase our prices because we don’t really need to at this point," says Miller.

However, not all farmers have money-saving options as Heritage Belle Farms does.

Justin Lewton with Lewton Farms in Keenesburg, which grows wheat, says the list of impacts on his farm goes on and on.

"Everything stacks on top of something else, and it’s not just one thing on top of another," says Lewton. "It’s exponential."

Russia and Ukraine are among the top wheat distributors in the world. Russia also produces a large amount of fertilizer that farmers across America use.

That may change with sanctions now in place against Russia.

Now, demand is higher in America. The cost of wheat products is increasing, and higher gas prices for certain pieces of equipment put farmers, like those at Lewton Farms, in a tough position.

"It’s not just that you took a 50 cent increase on gasoline prices or diesel prices. That’s happened in every portion of the supply chain all the way through," says Lewton. "If we can get away with just doubling our expenses, we’re going to be very fortunate."

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Natalie Haddad

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