Long winter gives greenhouse growers tough choices

File photo. (WLUK/Emily Deem)
File photo. (WLUK/Emily Deem)
MELROSE (AP) - Wisconsin greenhouse growers are facing skyrocketing fuel costs this winter as extreme temperatures continue to plague the Midwest.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that for one Melrose grower who supplies restaurants and stores with tomatoes throughout the winter, monthly heating bills have climbed past $10,000 for its greenhouses. That's 25 percent higher than normal.

The region's winter was the fifth coldest on record, driving up costs for propane amid shortages and rising demand. Farmers are left with an uncomfortable choice of passing on higher costs to consumers or absorbing them.

Some farmers are considering new ways to lock in lower prices for the future, including switching from propane to biomass and other fuels. But for now, the region's smaller agriculture operations may need to absorb the higher costs.