Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a lifelong farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and nearly two dozen of his colleagues in urging President Biden and his administration to reverse policies that will drive fertilizer prices even higher. Many agricultural inputs have been impacted by 40-year high inflation, including fertilizer. Yet, even with inflation on the rise, the Biden administration imposed duties on imports of Moroccan phosphate fertilizer and is in the process of imposing duties on UAN fertilizer from long-time supplier Trinidad and Tobago.
In a bicameral letter to President Biden, Grassley and his colleagues demand the administration waive import duties on fertilizer to stop prices from skyrocketing even higher and prevent food insecurity. The president took similar action to help the solar industry, but he has thus far ignored farmers who are struggling with high input costs.
“You have the authority to provide farmers with immediate relief from these inflationary tariffs, somewhat similarly as you did for the solar industry in your June 6 Proclamation,” the lawmakers wrote. “In fact, the justifications mentioned in your June 6 Proclamation are far more applicable to shortages farmers face with fertilizer than any emergency concerning solar panels, as the subsequent decrease in food production will increase prices at the grocery store and increase food insecurity.”
“Fertilizer supply and availability – especially for nitrogen and phosphate – are also at a crossroads where farmers are applying lower-than-recommended soil nutrient rates for fear they cannot break even. The twofold results are productivity will decline and farmers may switch to alternative crops, thereby disrupting a reliable supply of protein staples,” the lawmakers continued.
Soaring fertilizer prices and agricultural input costs continue to be top concerns Grassley hears about during his 99 county meetings. He previously joined members of the Agriculture Committee in urging the International Trade Commission (ITC) to address the strain on the fertilizer supply chain to bring down costs. Additionally, Grassley has called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate concerns raised by American farmers about possible anticompetitive activity and market manipulation in the fertilizer industry. In addition to speaking with Iowans concerned about fertilizer costs during town meetings, Grassley has had conversations with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, Iowa Farm Bureau, Farm Credit Services of America and others.
Full text of the letter is available HERE.