Soaring fertilizer costs were among top lawmaker concerns at a recent House Ag hearing on the state of the rural economy, and those concerns are growing over international relations.
Global demand, China’s export controls, and now Russian threats to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine and Western Europe are driving fertilizer prices through the roof.
Kansas Representative Tracey Mann dismissed USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s suggestion producers use less. “That’s not going to cut it for my producers who’ve had plans in place and crop rotations and such, for years.”
Vilsack shot back, he isn’t suggesting eliminating fertilizer use. “This is a suggestion where you understand and appreciate where it needs to be applied, right place, right time, right amount.”
Louisiana’s Julia Letlow commissioned a Texas A&M study on the impact of soaring input costs on producers. “Rice farms experience the highest fertilizer cost increase, averaging 62.04 per acre, and our other crops are not far behind.”
And global supplies could tighten further if Russia weaponizes its exports of natural gas, the key raw material for producing nitrogen fertilizers such as ammonia and urea.
Vilsack admitted; “There’s no ‘silver bullet,’ I wish there were, and if there were, we would certainly be on top of it.”