In recent weeks several agricultural groups have been raising concerns about increasing fertilizer prices. The rising costs have prompted a call for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate possible market manipulation. In some areas of the country, prices for the critical farm inputs have increased as much as 300 percent.
“Rising fertilizers prices are a great concern for farmers across the country,” American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall said in a press release. “The rising cost of supplies is slowing down the momentum America’s farmers were starting to build through higher commodity prices and increased demand for their products. Hard-working families must be able to do more than just break-even. We urge the Biden administration to look for ways to bring fertilizer prices down, which include resolving supply chain disruptions and removing import duties, so farmers can continue growing the food, fuel and fiber America relies on.”
The latest Market Intel from AFBF highlights some of the factors that are pushing fertilizer prices increasingly higher. Trade duties, supply chain disruptions, increased energy costs, fertilizer demand, and prices for raw materials are all contributing to the record-high prices. The report notes that ammonia prices have increased over 210 percent from September 2020. Liquid nitrogen prices have increased 159 percent, urea has increased 155 percent, and potash has increased 134 percent during that same time.
To address the rising prices, Family Farm Action Alliance is asking for an investigation into the highly-consolidated fertilizer sector. The group points out that only a limited number of companies are supplying American farmers with potassium- and nitrogen-based fertilizer. In a letter to the DOJ Antitrust Division, the group notes a suspicious coincidence that fertilizer costs are rapidly climbing as farmer income from commodity crops such as corn and soybeans increase. Family Farm Action Alliance is calling on the DOJ to review the market conditions and determine if there have been any anti-competitive actions causing distortion in the market.