Agriculture, in Mississippi, is a $7.6 billion per year industry. About 36,200 farms dot the state, covering 10.7 million acres. The average farm is 286 acres. That’s a lot of land to take care of — and power.

There are many expenses that go into running a farm and ensuring profitability. That includes taxes, hiring and training labor, feed seed, livestock, fertilizer and pesticides. Farmers also need to account for fluctuating energy costs like fuel and electricity, which can account for up to 30 percent or more of expenses. These prices, like the weather, swiftly impact farm operations and bottom lines.

That brings us to offshore energy development, and why farmers should care so much about exploration and production done so far away. It’s all supply and demand; the more energy Mississippi has, the less it’ll cost farmers to power tractors, combines and other equipment needed for seeding, harvesting and irrigation.

That’s why local decisionmakers should continue to greenlight measures that safely expand pipeline and refinery capacity, increase development in places like the Gulf of Mexico and streamline the rules and regulations that impede efforts to deliver energy affordably, if done safely.

Thanks to improved techniques, innovative technologies and robust regulations, Mississippi can do just that and ensure farmers have access to reliable, cost-effective energy supplies year-round.

Kaitlin Schmidtke 

Consumer Energy Alliance

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