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Feenstra Sounds Alarm on Rising Fertilizer Prices During Hearing on Supply Chain Challenges

Farmers face skyrocketing input costs, troubling supply shortages

During a House Agriculture Committee hearing on supply chain challenges, Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04) voiced Iowa farmers’ concerns regarding fertilizer supply shortages and skyrocketing fertilizer prices.

“The 4th District leads the nation in soybean and corn production. With that, I’d like to address a concern regarding fertilizer costs. Some of our farmers, who have been able to guarantee fertilizer availability for next planting season, have reported being quoted prices up to six times as high as 2021 prices,” Feenstra said during today’s hearing.

Feenstra asked Rod Wells, Chief Supply Chain Officer for GROWMARK, to shed light on the main factors driving this troubling supply chain issue. Discussing high prices for nitrogen and phosphate, Wells pointed to the effect higher natural gas prices have had on fertilizer production.

“One of the catalysts to make the products is natural gas,” Wells said. “Natural gas has skyrocketed in price, and it directly impacts the prices of those particular products.”

Feenstra has heard from farmers across the district concerned fertilizer shortages and high prices could make for a difficult 2022 planting season.

Feenstra also pushed back on claims that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is contributing to higher costs for soybean oil, arguing the facts show production activities are not contributing to a recent temporary increase in soybean oil prices.

“Over the last decade, soybean production and processing capacity has grown dramatically,” Feenstra said. “In fact, the October WASDE Report forecast soybean production at 4.4 billion bushels — that’s up 74 million bushels from the year before based on higher yields. While our farmers are projected to produce a record crop this year, the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry are using approximately the same amount of soybean oil that they did compared to last year at this time.”

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