When weather conditions allow, farmers across Alabama are just beginning to get out into their fields to prepare for the 2022 planting season. With plenty of rain this winter, growing conditions are great across the state; but many farmers are showing a loss in pre-planting budgeting due to inflation. Chief among these are the prices of fuel and fertilizer, both of which have been disrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting U.S. sanctions on fuel and fertilizer components coming from Russia. This situation has only further exacerbated the already existing supply chain bottlenecks.

These price increases will have a significant effect on farm profitability and the costs that consumers can expect to pay to put food on their tables.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) joined a letter with Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and 17 Senate colleagues expressing concerns to President Joseph R. Biden (D) regarding the record increases in fertilizer prices approaching the crucial spring planting season. The senators are urging the Biden Administration to immediately take all necessary steps to curtail the rising costs impacting American farmers and consumers.

“We are writing to express my serious concern regarding record-high fertilizer prices impacting American farmers going into the spring planting season,” Haggerty, Tuberville et. al wrote. “Fertilizer is a primary input and major expense for producers across the country, and price increases will have a significant effect on farm profitability and the prices of food and consumer products.”

Considering Russia’s role as a key producer of fertilizer and necessary inputs of fertilizer, its invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country are likely to cause shortages and price increases of fertilizer. These potential disruptions, coupled with skyrocketing energy prices and artificial restraints on the American oil and gas industry, will harm American farmers and in turn, American consumers.

“We are therefore urging your administration to review all available options to lower the cost of fertilizer, including but not limited to: eliminating the cross-border vaccine mandate for transporters of essential commerce; engaging stakeholders to prevent a Canadian Pacific Railway strike; ensuring agricultural minerals like phosphate and potash are part of the Department of the Interior’s List of Critical Minerals; increasing U.S. gas production; and approving pending export permits at the Department of Energy for Liquefied Natural Gas,” the senators concluded. “Quickly undertaking such measures is the most immediate—and perhaps only—near-term opportunity to partially remedy the high costs of fertilizer impacting American farmers and ultimately American consumers. Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

Tuberville is in his first term representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate.

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