A new economic analysis released by researchers at Texas A&M University has corn growers raising concerns that pending tariffs on nitrogen fertilizers will create shortages and cause prices to increase even more for farmers, according to the National Corn Growers Association.
“As part of this study, we conducted a historical analysis going back to 1980 and found that fertilizer costs tend to go up when corn revenues increase,” lead researcher Joe Outlaw, Ph.D., noted. “Notably, these prices tend to go up exponentially even after accounting for natural gas prices and higher demand.”
The study notes that the price of one type of nitrogen fertilizer, called anhydrous ammonia, increased by $688 per ton—$86,000 for a 1,000-acre farm—from the end of 2020 through the end of October 2021.
The study has farmers raising concerns about a petition by CF Industries, one of the country’s major nitrogen producers, with U.S. International Trade Commission to impose tariffs on nitrogen fertilizers imported from Trinidad & Tobago and Russia. The U.S. Department of Commerce has since released a preliminary finding recommending tariffs, despite strong outcry from farm groups.
“The proposed tariffs will create shortages and drive our costs up even higher,” Iowa farmer and National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington said. “They will add insult to injury and impose a financial hardship on family farms.”
This academic study verifies that nitrogen prices erode profitability for family farms, Edgington said.
“Our request is simple,” he said. “We’re just asking that these companies keep us out of their trade disputes, and they do everything possible to keep their products available and affordable for family farms.”
The study was commissioned by state corn organizations in Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.