NEEDVILLE, Texas - If you want to know why some things are more expensive in the grocery store, just ask a farmer who's bearing those same costs.
In Needville, 40 miles from downtown Houston, there are farm fields as far as the eye can see.
Farmers are balancing high prices for their crops and the enormous cost of growing them.
Paul Freund has lived on the same patch of land all his life and has spent nearly 50-years working the fields. It's rarely an easy experience, with all kinds of challenges. He says the current season is one of the tough ones.
With 1,000 acres under seed, growing corn, sorghum, and cotton this season has an ever-growing list of challenges.
Farmers call them 'input charges:' the money they spend to grow the crops, and those expenses are growing. Diesel fuel is through the roof and fertilizer costs twice what it did a year ago. It all eats up the higher price that's being offered for their crops.
"Paying the bills is going to be the issue, because of the high input costs, and the drought, so we're going to have way lower yields than normal," says Freund.
Jeff Nunley from the South Texas Cotton & Grain Association, represents farmers from Houston to down in the Rio Grande Valley. He says all of them are trying hard to weather a growing-season that is among the most difficult, with crops that aren't as healthy as they could be.
"This is going to be one of the most challenging."
The hard work is part of the deal on America's farms. But the high prices they face will ultimately be felt all the way to the dinner table.
"Farmers are excited about the really high commodity prices right now, but the flip-side of that is that the expense side has gone up dramatically," says Nunley.
It's the kind of thing that Paul Freund thinks about all the time.
"Pretty well every day, 24/7."
Harvest begins in July, and depending on the crops, will last into August.
Farmers expect the difficult season will leave them with about half-yield that a healthy season would have provided.