Nearly 100 members of Congress sent a letter to President Joe Biden earlier this week about the rising cost of fertilizer, encouraging the administration to review all available options to lower the cost of nutrients.
Higher fertilizer prices pose a challenge to farmers as they see input prices continue to rise and squeeze their profitability. The skyrocketing nutrient prices could also cause food prices to increase.
The group specifically asked the Biden administration to review all options to lower the cost of fertilizer, including, but not limited to, eliminating the cross-border vaccine mandate for transporters of essential commerce and urging USDA to use its existing authority under the food supply chain and pandemic response resources to provide support for farmers facing financial difficulties.
In March, several ag groups sent their own letter to President Biden, requesting the administration work with the Canadian government to ease supply chain issues (here).
That letter also addressed the cross-border vaccine mandate. Over 1 million short tons of fertilizer cross the U.S.-Canada border by truck every year, according to The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).
USDA announced in March several initiatives to address the rising fertilizer prices, including investing $250 million in a grant program for new fertilizer production (here).
Other items the group of members of Congress thought would ease the effects of rising fertilizer price included ensuring agricultural minerals like phosphorus and potash are part of the Department of the Interior’s crucial mission, increasing U.S. gas production, and approving pending export permits at the Department of Energy liquefied natural gas.
“Quickly undertaking such measures is the most immediate — and perhaps only — near-term opportunity to partially remedy the high costs of fertilizer hurting American farmers and, ultimately, American consumers,” the members of Congress stated in the letter.
DTN tracks retail fertilizer prices on a weekly basis. Prices have increased significantly in recent weeks after a few months of moving lower (here).
Fertilizer prices have climbed since December 2020 on several different supply issues, from weather to phosphorus tariffs to higher natural gas prices. Fertilizer prices have increased over the last month or so as the Russia-Ukraine war has continued (here).
To read the full letter, see here.
Russ Quinn can be reached at Russ.Quinn@dtn.com
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