Midwest senators seek to promote transparency on fertilizer market

Huge bale of hay holding an American flag on a beautiful summer day in a farm field in Colorado

US senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) announced in a news release on Tuesday that they are introducing a bill that will seek to elucidate the market factors driving the cost of fertilizer.

The Midwest senators said that the Fertilizer Research Act would require the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct a study on competition and trends in the fertilizer market in order to assess their effects on price.

Specifically, they said, within a year of the bill’s passage, the Secretary of Agriculture would be obligated to publish a report on the USDA website assessing market trends over the past 25 years; fertilizer imports and their impact on the market; the effects of anti-dumping and countervailing duties; market concentration; emerging fertilizer technologies; and public price reporting and transparency.

Grassley commented that ‘Farmers’ bottom lines thin as the price of fertilizer rises. With fertilizer being one of the ag industry’s highest input costs, it’s problematic farmers have such a limited window into market fluctuations. Our bill will provide farmers in Iowa and across the Heartland with needed transparency and certainty as they navigate production costs.’

Baldwin remarked that ‘Wisconsin’s farmers work long hours year-round to provide food for our families, but in recent years, they have faced tough economic headwinds, including the high cost of fertilizer. This hurts their bottom lines, our rural communities, and American consumers, and we need to do more to address rising input costs for our agricultural industry.’

Ernst, for her part, added that ‘Bidenomics has been tough on all Iowans, especially our farmers and rural communities. On top of rising prices for everyday goods, Iowa’s ag community is facing all-time high fertilizer costs. Senator Chuck Grassley and I are teaming up to force Biden’s USDA to create more transparency around why fertilizer costs are so high and how we can work to bring them down.’

The press release noted that the senators’ push for transparency has been praised by the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Soybean Association. Bloomberg reported earlier that the Fertilizer Institute, which represents the industry, indicated that it is supportive of efforts to enhance transparency through improved data collection and analysis.

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