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 for the sharp rise in prices: the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain problems, rising gasoline prices and the war in Ukraine.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but Russia is one of the biggest 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, it actually skyrocketed the processes all over the valley.”
According to the US Department of Agriculture, average prices for liquid nitrogen, red potash and anhydrous ammonia have increased more than 100% since last summer.
Aid to 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 HR 7606 “Food and Fuel Costs Reduction Act” in June.
The bill, which was pushed by Democrats, provides USDA funding to help farmers implement nutrient management practices and subsidies for biofuel infrastructure.
Although the bill is backed by the Biden administration, it has yet to pass the Senate. And some House Republicans have opposed the bill, saying it would do nothing to reduce food and fuel costs.
Learn more at this KCRA3 link.