Ranchers in the Ozarks fight higher fertilizer prices

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 12:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:54 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Ranchers in the Ozarks have struggled in 2022 as business costs rise.

Carlee Buckner is a fifth-generation rancher in Walnut Grove. She says she is using less fertilizer because of costs.

“Knowledge is power, so everything we do at the end of the day is helpful in the sense that we know what our soil needs,” said Buckner. “We are not putting too much. We’re not putting too little. We’re putting exactly what that land needs.”

Buckner said technology is your friend and hopes other farmers use the tools like soil analysis to ensure they get all they can from their land. When the cattle come running for feeding time Buckner said a solid foundation is essential for all farmers.

“An acre by acre basis as far as what recipe that acre needs to be able to perform appropriately and to the best of its ability,” said Buckner.

Buckner calls it soil analysis, and they started 4 years ago with a Nutri-track program through the MFA. She said the process isn’t new, but their technology is up to date and saves them money on costly fertilizer.

“We are able to create a recipe so I know exactly what nitrogen, phosphorus, urea, potassium, that’s needed to go into it per acre, instead of looking at the entire field,” said Buckner.

Buckner compares it to a supplement, as the right recipe fuels the soil. But they bought eight tons less fertilizer this year because costs are so high.

However, she said all of her cattle will have bountiful pastures and full bellies with a new-age mentality.

“It’s that millennial, that new generation, and that opportunity as a woman in agriculture, to be able to have a voice on the farm, and playing a role into hey, look, here, this is a new thing that we can do,” said Buckner.

Buckner said she is also always looking at statistics on their land and what is happening in the national and international markets, because it effects her personally.

In the end, she said all the hard work pays off when you’re building the future.

“Fact that I’m able to say I’m doing what my grandparents did and I’m able to be involved in this generation, It’s heartwarming, and it’s also breaking glass ceilings,” said Buckner.

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