Trucking costs up
There are cost concerns related to trucking, Hill said.
“It’s horrible, right now, just trying to get a reasonable rate,” Adams said of the trucking situation.
New regulations, particularly in California, and a shortage of drivers have created a sellers market in the trucking business, Hill said.
“We’re $600 to $1,000 more per load — that’s if you’re finding cheap trucks,” he said of the rates this year. “As far as mileage rate, it’s probably gone up 50 cents a mile at least. It’s off the board.”
A possible solution, for now, is to lock down long-term contracts, Hill said.
“We’ve really focused on getting contracts with some trucks to make sure we don’t have to change our f.o.b.s, so we can take care of our growers,” he said.
It’s helpful to develop a “good relationship” with trucking firms, Hill said.
“Last year, we might have paid 10 cents a mile over what the market was, but this year, I’m 10 or 20 cents below what the market is,” he said.
Trucking firms haven’t abandoned the company, even with lower margins, Hill said.
“It’s making it worthwhile to stick with these guys,” he said. “Pay your bills and stay with them and they’ll stay with you.”