US agriculture fears price increase in fertilizer trade

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has warned global fertilizer suppliers not to increase prices unnecessarily. He warned the international fertilizer trade not to try to take advantage of the trade chaos caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

American farmers are already suffering from the current high fertilizer costs. Vilsack said supply disruptions or price spikes abroad could lead to even higher prices. Russia is a major producer and exporter of urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), a common fertilizer that many U.S. corn farmers also depend on.

Vilsack said during USDA's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. He went on to say he wants to make sure fertilizer companies don't "start using this situation as an excuse to do something that isn't justified by supply and demand."

In addition to concerns about price inflation, there could also be consequences for both the grain and fertilizer trade. Russia's invasion of Ukraine could have global economic and trade implications. Together, the two countries account for nearly a quarter of global grain exports. 

The cost of UAN from Russia has already risen for US farmers thanks to recent increased import tariffs from the US Department of Commerce. That recently ruled that Russia (and Trinidad and Tobago) is unfairly subsidizing UAN exports to the US. 

This clears the way for anti-dumping duties. The Biden administration also plans to impose sanctions in April on the export of potash fertilizer from two large state-owned enterprises in Belarus.