BY TIMOTHY EGGERT
Illinois Farm Bureau issued an action request Thursday afternoon, asking FB ACT members to share with USDA how domestic fertilizer production, supply and price impact their operations.
USDA also wants to know whether American farmers hold concerns about concentration in the ag input and seed markets, and how challenges in wholesale and distribution markets affect small to mid-sized producers.
The call for comment comes as USDA works to implement a $250 million grant program aimed at expanding independent domestic fertilizer production capacity.
The department expects to open applications for the program this summer and to award funds by the end of 2022.
“The No. 1 topic that I’d like to raise with them is how we can spend those dollars at the local level, local cooperative level maybe or the mom and pops out here to provide more storage for fertilizer, anhydrous, etc.,” IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. told the RFD Radio Network of the comments he’d be submitting. “That it’s at the retailer level and available to farmers when they need it.”
FB ACT members alerted by a text message or an email notification can complete the action request by clicking the link in the text message or the “TAKE ACTION” button in the email.
Members who did not receive the notification but want to join the call to action should text FERTILIZER to 52886.
The action request will be live until April 8, and the USDA comment period lasts until May 16.
Members will be asked five open-ended questions:
- Describe challenges with market concentration and power in the fertilizer industries, including access to fertilizer, pricing, availability, transportation and delivery, quality and any other contract terms or other factors.
- Comment on both long and short-term trends in fertilizer prices.
- Is the existing fertilizer market sufficiently competitive? If not, how do competition problems manifest themselves?
- What role do contractual or sales practices in fertilizer play with regard to producer access or prices paid to fertilizer? Have contractual or sales prices changed recently, or over time?
- The U.S agricultural system relies on foreign supply of fertilizers. What global supply chain risks could result from trade disruptions? Additionally, how might the conflict in Ukraine impact fertilizer markets.
“This is such a huge issue that we have been hearing about from our members over the last number of months — the rising cost of fertilizer products in particular and also just availability issues,” IFB’s Lauren Lurkins told the RFD Radio Network. “This is a great opportunity for our members to take action and give their very detailed thoughts to USDA.”
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.