Lawmakers propose fertilizer cost study

A bill has been introduced in the Senate that would require USDA to study competition and trends in the fertilizer market.  Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa says the legislation would require USDA to publish a report on the fertilizer industry, “to determine what’s influenced the final farm gate price, and obviously, if that shows that there’s antitrust violations, collusion, and all of that sort of stuff that would be a basis for us taking action.”

Democrat Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin tells Brownfield Washington cannot come up with policy answers until the market research is done. “The USDA can’t give us accurate, up-to-date information about why we’re seeing such spikes in the costs. What sort of competition exists? How do tariffs and other sanctions impact those costs? And, we want answers.”

Baldwin tells Brownfield that for now, it’s a stand-alone bill and it will need to be funded but she says attaching it to the new farm bill is an option. “We’re looking for any avenue to get it across the finish line so that we get this information and are able to take the further steps necessary to bring down these sort of input costs.” Baldwin says just introducing this bill is a strong signal to the USDA that they really need to update their research into fertilizer prices

The legislation would require a report including what impacts on the fertilizer market influence prices, details about imported fertilizer, the impacts of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, and if current price reporting is sufficient for market transparency.

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst is the other author of the Fertilizer Research Act legislation.

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