Suggested lead: Russia’s war in Ukraine has prompted more questions than answers for the U.S. and other major growers. Dave Salmonsen, the American Farm Bureau’s senior director of congressional relations, says many questions will have to get answered in the weeks ahead amid huge grain and oilseed shortfalls from Ukraine and Russia.
“How will the world respond with planting at a time when costs are high? How will that work out? And, of course, as the year goes on, we have no idea what our weather’s going to be, and our yields, so definitely a lot of questions in the air.”
Duration will be key. “The longer this goes on, the greater the impacts – the conflict in Ukraine, the greater the impact will be.”
As supply channels move away from the Black Sea region. “So much of what so many countries around the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, and China. China’s buying a lot of soybeans for now, and I think contracting for next year from the U.S.”
While fertilizer shortfalls from major providers Russia and Belarus fuel higher input costs. “Higher fuel and fertilizer prices affect everybody, whether you grow wheat and corn and soybeans, or not. That affects everybody in agriculture and everybody in the economy.”
Can countries increase energy supplies? Salmonsen says “yes,” but it takes time to get rigs up and running. And time, of course, is a commodity producers don’t have. Planting and harvesting can’t wait, nor can a hungry and growing world population.