Ernst gathered farmers, industry professionals, and federal and state policymakers to discuss the increased, historic fertilizer costs, which have skyrocketed by 300% over the past year in some cases.
VINTON, Iowa – After hearing from countless agriculture industry professionals and farm families about record, sky-high fertilizer costs on her 99 County Tour, today U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, hosted a roundtable discussion with farmers, industry professionals, and federal and state policymakers to discuss how the historic prices are impacting farmers and the industry.
“As fertilizer costs skyrocket to record levels, topping 14-year highs in some cases, Iowa farmers are facing a crisis,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Today’s roundtable—bringing together farmers, the heads of some of Iowa’s top agriculture groups, industry professionals, and federal and state policymakers—was an engaging discussion to better understand the causes of these historic costs and to ultimately work toward solutions. I look forward to continuing these conversations and addressing this crisis head on to ensure Iowa’s farmers, who feed and fuel the world, can continue to thrive.”
In some instances, fertilizer costs have increased by as much as 300% over the last year. These historic costs are causing added stress to farmers’ livelihoods, thinning their margins despite higher commodity prices, and forcing many to rethink their planting and application strategies.
During today’s discussion, Ernst heard from heads of some of Iowa’s major agriculture groups about the impact of these increased costs. Federal and state policymakers and private-sector innovators of new farming technology also joined the conversation to contribute their perspective on the crisis and to provide insight on possible solutions to help farmers and the agricultural community.
Participants of today’s roundtable included: Deputy Secretary Julie Kenney of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; State Senator Dan Zumbach, the chair of the Iowa Senate Agriculture Committee; Dr. Zachary Stewart, an official from the Center for Agriculture-Led Growth at USAID; Lance Lillibridge, President of Iowa Corn and an Iowa farmer who hosted today’s meeting at his farm; Brent Johnson, President of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; Robb Ewoldt, President of the Iowa Soybean Association; Jason Troendle, Director of Market Intelligence and Research for the Fertilizer Institute; Chris Behrens, Executive Vice-President of Sales and Marketing for Heartland Cooperative; and Amanda De Jong, Head of Government Relations and Policy Engagement for Pivot Bio, an agricultural biotechnology company.
On her 99 County Tour, Ernst has consistently heard from farmers about the impact of these increased fertilizer costs. Last week, Ernst sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urging for affordable and accessible inputs for America’s farmers and agriculture producers. The senators implored the Ambassador to prioritize producers’ fertilizer needs immediately.
Today’s roundtable event in Benton County marked Ernst’s 68th stop on her 99 County Tour for 2022.