Brittany Johnson of KCRA3 in Sacramento reports that Central Valley farmers are paying two to three times more for fertilizer than they did a year ago.
The reasons behind the sharp price hike: the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, rising gas prices, and the war in Ukraine.
“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but Russia is one of the largest is the largest sources of fertilizer for the Central Valley and for farmers across California,” says Rep. Josh Harder (D-Tracy). “When we closed those markets because of the war, then that has actually skyrocketed processes across the Valley.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average prices for liquid nitrogen, red potash, and anhydrous ammonia have risen more than 100% since last summer.
Help for Farmers
In response, the USDA announced a new grant program totaling $250 million “to support independent, innovative, and sustainable American fertilizer production to supply American farmers.”
In addition, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan H.R. 7606 “Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act” in June.
The bill, which was pushed by Democrats, provides USDA funding to help farmers implement nutrient management practices and grants for biofuel infrastructure.
While the bill is supported in by the Biden Administration, it has yet to pass the Senate. And, some House Republicans opposed the bill, saying it would do nothing to lower food and fuel costs.
Read more at this KCRA3 link.