By Gary Joiner, Publisher
Texas farmers feel the pinch when the cost of inputs go up. Any bump in price for energy, labor, water, equipment and fertilizer, among others, erodes the bottom line.
A big spike in fertilizer prices is the latest hit to U.S. agriculture.
A gauge of North American fertilizer prices soared to a record high this month, driving up costs for farmers and threatening to worsen food inflation.
The Green Markets North America Fertilizer Price Index rose 7.9 percent to $996.32 per short ton. That’s well past the Index’s 2008 peak. It also set a new benchmark for the index that began nearly 20 years ago.
According to reports, the fertilizer market has been hit hard this year due to extreme weather, plant shutdowns, sanctions and rising energy costs in Europe and China.
The energy squeeze in Europe and Asia has created a critical situation for the fertilizer industry. Companies have had to close facilities or reduce production as prices for natural gas have surged. Natural gas is the main feedstock for most nitrogen fertilizer.
Those impacts are being felt in U.S. fields. The cost of production for U.S. corn farmers could be 16 percent higher.
Not a good situation.
The preceding commentary is brought to you by Texas Farm Bureau, the “Voice of Texas Agriculture.” Called “Your Texas Agriculture Minute,” TFB will issue thought-provoking editorials each week—via print and audio—to spark understanding of agriculture in the Lone Star State and its impact on each and every Texan.