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NCGA, ag groups send letter asking for consideration of fertilizer tariffs

Several agriculture groups have warned the Biden administration about the detrimental impact farmers may face if tariffs on some fertilizer imports are increased.

Nancy Martinez with the National Corn Growers Association says tariffs have caused significant price volatility and supply chain challenges. “It’s very hard sometimes to predict what’s the availability of a given input and having a narrower option for something like phosphate fertilizer can really put some undue stress on farmers when they need that timely access for planting and for good yields.”

NCGA and 62 other ag groups recently set a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo asking her to consider the difficulties farmers face as she recalculates duties on phosphate fertilizers from Morocco.  The US Court of International Trade ordered the administration to reconsider its previous decision.

Martinez says one of the U.S.’s top importers, Moroccan-based OCP Group, have reduced exports and that’s contributed to a 230 percent price increase from 2020 to 2022. “I think we want something as low or negligible as possible. I think limiting something that farmers desperately thing is not great.  We want Commerce to be thoughtful and consider the facts that the CIT raised to hopefully get some relief for our farmers.”

She tells Brownfield any potential increase could not come at a worse time for producers. “Current projections from the USDA look like it’ll be a little cheaper on the fertilizer side, but then again, we’re nowhere near what it was in 2020. Trying to get some stability and predictability for farmers and the fertilizer space is something that we’re strongly advocating for.”

According to the letter, farmers in 2022 spent $36.9 billion on fertilizer and lime compared to $24.4 in 2022.

The letter says the issue began in February 2021 when Commerce asked the ITC to implement a 20 percent tariff on imported fertilizers from Morocco after the Mosaic company asked for higher levies.  The ITC voted to impose the duties while adding other levies against Russia.

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