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Idaho congressmen to Biden: Consider ‘all available options’ to control fertilizer prices

The Idaho House of Representatives is seen meeting Nov. 15, at the Statehouse in Boise.  (Keith Ridler)
The Idaho House of Representatives is seen meeting Nov. 15, at the Statehouse in Boise. (Keith Ridler)
By Audrey Dutton Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho’s Republican members of Congress, Reps. Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher, sent a message Tuesday that urged President Joe Biden to act on high fertilizer prices, as the nation’s farms head into planting season.

Simpson and Fulcher were among nearly 100 congressional representatives to sign the letter.

“Farmers across Idaho and the country are feeling the burden of higher input costs due to supply chain disruptions and rising energy costs,” Simpson said in a news release. “The unprecedented fertilizer prices we see today are placing yet another strain on our vitally important agricultural communities.”

Simpson said the Biden administration “must take every action necessary to lower the cost of fertilizer and ensure farmers have reliable access to the resources they need.” He warned that farm operations “could be jeopardized” by the inflation in fertilizer costs, which would be passed on to people who buy food produced by U.S. farmers.

Simpson said fertilizer accounts for more than 30% of farmers’ expenditures.

The letter said costs for fertilizer components have risen by as much as 200% since January 2021, citing U.S. Department of Agriculture data. It said supply-chain problems and rising energy costs are to blame.

The letter urged Biden to consider measures such as removing vaccine requirements for cross-border transport of “essential commerce,” increasing U.S. gas production and using resources to support farmers facing financial difficulties.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in February that his office would watch for potential price gouging as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, saying it was a serious concern. Russia is a major global supplier of farm fertilizers and is the source of about a third of Europe’s natural gas.

The rapid rise of fertilizer prices has been attributed to several factors, including natural gas shortages and limited fertilizer stockpiles, according to reporting by Iowa Capital Dispatch.

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