Ukrainian crisis causes price of wheat to surge

Ukraine is a major wheat producer, but farmers can't harvest due to the conflict.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Ukraine is a huge producer of wheat and the on-going conflict with Russia is causing the price to soar.

The issue comes as many gather for the opening day of the WPS Farm show in Oshkosh.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be a shortage but you always have price elasticity. When the price gets too high people move to something else, but the fact is all the grains are being impacted. They’re all moving up because of that level of uncertainty,” said Jack Kaltenberg, a wheat producer and owner of Partners in Production, located in Arlington.

Ukraine is considered the bread basket of Europe, so if farmers there can’t harvest because of the conflict, farmers in the US and elsewhere would have to fill that need.

This comes at the same time, they’re battling inflation factors like rising gas and energy prices.

That too has Congressman Mike Gallagher concerned.

“It just goes to show that war is not something that can be isolated. It has global effects and and we’ve seen for the last two years how painful supply chain disruptions can be to everyday life of Wisconsinites and we could see something similar here,” said Gallagher, a Republican representing Wisconsin’s 8th District.

Right now the cost of wheat is about nine dollars per bushel.

That’s up from five dollars a bushel nearly a year ago. Many farmers tell say it’s the highest amount they’ve seen it sell for in recent memory.

Others are calling on Congress to bring back the strategic grain reserve, which was eliminated in the 1990′s.

“So we have a strategic reserve for petroleum to try to reign in prices and try to balance demand and supply but we don’t have the same thing for food,” said Tom Nelson, a Democrat running for US Senate.

How much higher prices go, is still the big question.

Kaltenberg added, “Food is a basic foundation of everything and over there it’s so terrible, somehow to get food. So we’re going to be impacted.”

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