Farmers see impact of high fertilizer prices

·2 min read

Jul. 24—While commodity prices have been high for farmers in Missouri, operating costs have increased as well, especially with fertilizer.

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan., along with 29 other representatives are calling on President Joe Biden to invoke authority to waive tariffs imposed on phosphate fertilizer products from Morocco.

Graves said on his farm, they previously were paying $400 a ton for anhydrous ammonia, and this year it was $1,500 a ton, which he said is hard to keep up with as harvest is right around the corner.

"Farming is one of the very few industries out there where we are a price-taker for all of our inputs and all of our outputs. We don't control anything in that process," Graves said. "When you squeeze the profit margin to the point where you can't make money farming, and that's when we start losing farmers, it's vitally important that we give as much opportunity to farmers as possible. "

Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins said he believes removing tariffs and decreasing fertilizer prices could be essential.

"If you look at costs overall for farmers and what our production costs are going to be, everyone needs to have a fantastic harvest to make this thing pencil out ... and on the cow-calf side, we're already seeing hay prices coming up as people look at purchasing hay."

Prices of fertilizer, coupled with other operating costs, have caused farmers to look at potentially making tough decisions to decide how they control costs.

"We need a robust common sense American energy policy yet again," Hawkins said. "We need to make sure we have common sense regulations in place that allow us to do more here in the United States to help address long-term concerns about being too overly dependent on our imports."

Graves said he is optimistic that Biden will take the requests to end tariffs seriously and look at providing farmers with relief.

"I'm hopeful. I would think he would show very callous regard to agriculture if he didn't do this, and again he's already demonstrated that authority with solar panels coming in from Southeast Asia, so he can do this," Graves said.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.