Price increases will have a significant effect on farm profitability and costs of food and consumer products

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and 18 Senate colleagues are raising their concern to President Joe Biden regarding record increases in fertilizer prices approaching the spring planting season.

As ongoing supply-chain bottlenecks and the rising cost of energy, among other factors, send fertilizer prices soaring, and with the potential of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to create additional disruptions, the senators are urging the Biden Administration to immediately take all necessary steps to curtail the rising costs impacting American farmers and consumers.

“We are writing to express my serious concern regarding record-high fertilizer prices impacting American farmers going into the spring planting season. Fertilizer is a primary input and major expense for producers across the country, and price increases will have a significant effect on farm profitability and the prices of food and consumer products, ” the senators wrote.

Considering Russia’s role as a key producer of fertilizer and necessary inputs of fertilizer, its invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country are likely to cause shortages and price increases of fertilizer. These potential disruptions, coupled with skyrocketing energy prices precipitated by President Biden’s war on the American oil and gas industry, will harm American farmers and in turn, American consumers.

“We are therefore urging your administration to review all available options to lower the cost of fertilizer, including but not limited to: eliminating the cross-border vaccine mandate for transporters of essential commerce; engaging stakeholders to prevent a Canadian Pacific Railway strike; ensuring agricultural minerals like phosphate and potash are part of the Department of the Interior’s List of Critical Minerals; increasing US gas production; and approving pending export permits at the Department of Energy for Liquefied Natural Gas, ” the senators concluded.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to express our serious concern regarding record-high fertilizer prices impacting American farmers going into the spring planting season. Fertilizer is a primary input and major expense for producers across the country, and price increases will have a significant effect on farm profitability and the prices of food and consumer products.

Since January 2021, according to the most recent data from the United States Department of Agricultural Marketing Services, the prices of key fertilizer sources have substantially increased as follows: anhydrous ammonia (by 203%); Urea (by 141%); liquid nitrogen (162%); monoammonium phosphate (MAP) (by 74%); potash (by 125%); and farm diesel (by 95%).

Ongoing supply-chain bottlenecks and the rising cost of energy are among the sending factors, fertilizer prices soaring, and disruptions stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will only compound the problem. As a result, Americans will pay more at restaurants, grocery stores, and other places.

We are therefore urging your administration to review all available options to lower the cost of fertilizer, including but not limited to: eliminating the cross-border vaccine mandate for transporters of essential commerce; engaging stakeholders to prevent a Canadian Pacific Railway strike; urging the US Department of Agriculture to use its existing authorities under the food supply chain and pandemic response resources to provide support for farmers facing financial difficulties ensuring agricultural minerals like phosphate and potash are part of the Department of the Interior’s List of Critical Minerals; increasing US gas production; and approving pending export permits at the Department of Energy for 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 impacting American farmers and ultimately American consumers. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

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