It seems many farmers feel fertilizer companies don’t play fair. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) say they have worked for months to eliminate tariffs on nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizer imports and reported they finally saw some results late in June.
“We have been banging on the doors in Washington, sounding the alarm and telling federal officials that tariffs are hurting farmers,” said NCGA President Chris Edgington. “(Finally), we saw some results as a judge with the Court of International Trade began asking tough questions about the assertions made by fertilizer companies.”
The appeal came after the U.S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission last year ruled in favor of a petition by the U.S.-based Mosaic Corp. to impose duties on phosphorous fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia. Mosaic had claimed that unfairly subsidized foreign companies were flooding the U.S. market with fertilizers and selling the products at extremely low prices.
On Tuesday, Judge Stephen Vaden, with the Court of International Trade, grilled ITC officials about how they determined that unfair imports of phosphate fertilizer from Morocco had injured U.S. producers.
Last year, CF Industries, another U.S.-based fertilizer company, also filed a petition with U.S. ITC asking that the commission place tariffs on certain nitrogen fertilizers imported from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. NCGA quickly responded then with an unusually direct op-ed, taking the fertilizer companies to task and arguing that tariffs placed a severe and unnecessary burden on family farms. Both decisions by ITC and the Court of International Trade are expected later this summer.
“High fertilizer prices make the timing perfect for innovative biological answers of all kinds,” says Mitch Eviston, Founder and CEO of Meristem Crop Performance, a provider of several new biological products that enhance nutrient availability and improve plant health. “If you are intent on high yields you need to begin trying out some of these new approaches – these new products – that will help you make the most of the nutrients you do buy.”