By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming farmers and ranchers are being hit by continually rising fertilizer costs and those higher expenses will likely find their way to consumers.
“We’re seeing [fertilizer] prices that are close to double what they were last year,” Wyoming Ag Business Association lobbyist Keith Kennedy told Cowboy State Daily on Friday. “I’ve been talking with several retailers and there have been a lot of people doing more soil sampling than they have done in the past. When I talk with farmers, there are several ways that people plan how much fertilizer to use.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prices for various types of fertilizer have increased by as much as 230% in the past year.
Nationally, increases in fertilizer costs are being blamed on shortages caused by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, Wyoming gets much of its fertilizer from Canada, and there have been difficulties shipping it across the border over the last two years because of COVID restrictions.
Kennedy said that while the rising fertilizer prices are nothing new, increases since the year began have been signifcant.
He added that while he thinks prices will come down some in the next 18 months, he does not expect much of a decline to happen during that time.
Albin-based organic farmer Ron Rabou told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that while his farm does not use commercial fertilizer, the cost of the fertilizers they do use, such as poultry manure or compost, has definitely gone up in recent months.
He added that while the boost in fertilizer will contribute to increased prices for consumers, other factors are in play as well.
“I think that beyond just the price of the actual fertilizer, there are a lot of things being affected right now in the ag industry,” he said. “Fuel is affecting the price, the cost of transportation also is. Even though we don’t use commercial fertilizer, all of that stuff trickles down to everyone that’s involved with agriculture.”
Rabou has been seeing rising costs among the ag industry in the last several years, but he said prices have jumped significantly in the last three months.