Seed prices likely to remain low

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

By Sam Wilmes

ALBERT LEA — A local seed expert said crop and seed prices will likely remain low for the next few months, creating a negative effect on the local economy.

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Mac Ehrhardt, owner and manager at Albert Lea Seed House, said high yields are the likely cause of the low prices.

Ehrhardt said low prices negatively affect the local economy as farmers look to cut costs and purchase fewer trucks, tractors, feed and other items.

He said seed prices have also dropped as farmers have prioritized cutting input costs.

A tug of war has ensued between large seed companies such as Monsanto and Dupont, Ehrhardt said, who noted that both companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars each year in seed development.

He said prices could dip even further before rising, adding that low prices have affected the business.

“We need our customers to do well for us to do well,” he said.

Corn and soybean yields will likely remain strong this year, Ehrhardt said, who expressed his belief that most local farmers have maintained good capital from strong recent growing years and should remain financially strong, despite the low prices.

He said there is an increased demand for seed that does not have genetically modified organism traits to cut input costs because of the low crop and seed prices.

Ehrhardt, who has worked at Albert Lea Seed House for 25 years, said Albert Lea Seed House’s main goal is to help farmers make money, and added that the business functions year-round.

Albert Lea Seed House sells a variety of products, including seeds, oats, wheat, barley, wheat, alfalfa and other products.

Mac Ehrhardt owns the business with his brother, Tom Ehrhardt. They are grandsons of Albert Lea Seed House Founder Lou Ehrhardt, who founded the company in 1923.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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