Rising fuel prices affect the bottom line

Columnist Liz Twan on the weather, ranching, and fuel prices.

Shoot! Dang it! May has disappeared in a whirlwind long-month of constant activity; it no sooner began, then was gone!

The weather was a bit weird and I think (first in my 34 years at Alkali Lake) my lilacs are not going to bloom!  We had several frigid mornings this month and I think they just froze to death. Wow — lilacs are super tough! A fact aptly illustrated throughout the Cariboo by their continued survival on deserted old homesteads, where they thrive long after those who planted them have moved on (or passed away).

So many things are linked together in unalterable sequence and patterns; a single night of freezing temperatures in May results in no fruit in August, zero precipitation in April/May can result in drought/fires in July, August and September if rains don’t intervene soon. Last year’s bumper grass growth in our forests/grasslands just adds extra fuel (old/dry grass) to the looming fear of a worse wildfire threat than in 2009, turning “wonderful stands of old forage leftover from last summer” into a negative factor, instead of a positive one.

Urbanites (Vancouverites) are raging at the gas/fuel increases which, in most cases, affects (curtails) their after-work pursuits of pleasure and recreation; less trips to the beach, less cross-border shopping jaunts or fewer other optional excursions!

In ranching regions, folks are simply resigned as all trips to most anywhere are really necessary, including the hayfields (ploughing, seeding, harvesting), the cattle pastures/ranges (hauling livestock in or out/checking livestock) and the nearest retail centres (parts/equipment/feed/groceries/doctor/veterinary, etc.)

All require goodly amounts of fuel to access, all are required trips in day-to-day business operations to facilitate production of the agricultural cash crop, be it forage/fed, cattle, sheep, whatever.

It sure doesn’t take long for the big jump in fuel prices to adversely affect the bottom line! No idling, please!

Liz Twan is a local rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.

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