WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, The Fertilizer Institute, American Soybean Association, and Illinois Soybean Association have released statements following President Joe Biden’s recent visit to an Illinois farm. While there, he unveiled new policies that aim to increase harvests in ways that the administration believes could also help to reduce grocery bills at home.
American Farm Bureau Federation
AFBF Recognizes First Steps to Address High Food Prices
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on President Joe Biden’s plan to address production costs and the affordability of food.
“AFBF appreciates that President Biden took time to visit a farm and recognize the hard-working families who grow crops and tend to the animals each and every day. We agree with the President’s description of the American farm as the ‘breadbasket of Democracy.’
“America’s farmers take seriously their responsibility to stock America’s pantries and help feed the rest of the hungry world. This effort to create greater opportunities and reduce barriers is welcomed, recognizing that this alone will not solve the multiple challenges we face.
“Removing the disincentives for double cropping has the potential to increase near term production in areas suitable for the practice and for farmers who have the financial capacity to do so. Similarly, the proposal to increase domestic fertilizer production is an acknowledgement by the administration of the extraordinarily high cost of supplies for farmers and ranchers, but it could take years to realize the benefits.
“There is no magic bullet to reduce food costs. It will require addressing all the factors contributing to higher costs, including record high fuel and fertilizer prices that are bearing down on farmers. We will continue working with the administration, Congress and the private sector to get the supply chain moving again and find solutions that will enable farmers to keep store shelves filled with groceries that America’s families can afford.”
National Farmers Union
NFU Supports Administration’s New Efforts to Address Ag Supply Chain Problems
Actions Include Increasing Domestic Fertilizer Production, Providing Technical Assistance, and Expanding Crop Insurance Options
During a farm visit today in Illinois, President Biden announced new actions to give farmers the tools and resources they need to help respond to continuing supply chain problems and rising input costs for farmers.
Speaking in support of today’s announcement, NFU President Rob Larew said, “America’s family farmers, along with the economy in general, have faced sky-high prices for inputs due to global unrest and a lack of competition in agricultural markets. Lack of competition in the fertilizer market, for example, has resulted in a fragile supply chain prone to interruptions and price gouging. The Biden Administration’s promise to double down on USDA efforts to diversify domestic fertilizer markets is promising and we look forward to providing input on how to do this most effectively.”
Larew added, “We appreciate the Administration’s efforts to create more crop insurance options and flexibility for farmers as we face difficult planting conditions and mounting global instability. We will continue to work with the USDA to identify the best policy options to help farmers across the country meet these challenges.”
Specifically, the Biden-Harris Administration will:
- Expand the number of counties eligible for double cropping insurance.
- Increase technical assistance for farmers using technology-driven precision agriculture and other nutrient management tools.
- Double investment in domestic fertilizer production.
NFU’s “Fairness for Farmers” campaign has brought the devastating impact of monopolies on family agriculture into the national spotlight. Campaign priorities include addressing issues such as excessive costs for fertilizer, supply chain vulnerabilities, and increased farm equipment costs.
The Fertilizer Institute
TFI Applauds Additional Investment in Domestic Fertilizer Grants; Urges Improvements to Nutrient Management Programs
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch today welcomed the announcement from President Joe Biden that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be doubling its initial $250 million investment in domestic fertilizer production to $500 million.
“The importance of fertilizer in food production and national security is taking center stage. Fertilizer increases crop yields that can be attributed to feeding 50% of the global population,” Rosenbusch said. “TFI supports efforts to bolster fertilizer supply through domestic production and technology; and we also urge policy makers to remove the regulatory burdens that inhibit growth of existing fertilizer production.”
Rosenbusch added that the United States has one of the most robust and competitive fertilizer industries in the world and is one of only three countries to have at least twenty unique fertilizer producers.
“We look forward to working with the USDA on how to most efficiently leverage those funds in a way that positively impacts farmers who rely on fertilizers to feed the crops that feed the world.”
President Biden, speaking to local growers at a farm in Kankakee, IL, also addressed the need to increase access to existing nutrient management tools, an issue that TFI has been supporting through its industry-wide 4R Nutrient Stewardship program and by seeking streamlining of USDA technical assistance programs.
“There are barriers to adoption that must be addressed,” Rosenbusch stressed. “The biggest thing the administration can do is to allow Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) to be recognized as Technical Service Providers (TSP) which would allow them to write nutrient management plans known as 590 plans.”
Additional improvements include expanded eligibility for the 590 grant program, allowing agricultural retailers to be eligible for all Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) grants and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funds, building a dedicated Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initiative to support and encourage sustainable, climate smart nutrient stewardship practice adoption, and to increase the cost-share rate within NRCS programs to 75%.
“Food security is national security,” concluded Rosenbusch. “We thank President Biden for his focus on these critical issues and we will continue working with the Administration to ensure U.S. farmers receive this necessary input and have the tools they need to promote the efficient and sustainable use of fertilizer.”
TFI recently released a number of actions that policymakers can take to strengthening domestic fertilizer production and address supply chain vulnerabilities. That document can be found here.
American Soybean Association
Soy Farmers Welcome Biden Announcement on Double Cropping Insurance Expansion, Technical Assistance for Precision Ag, Domestic Fertilizer Support
President Biden’s three-pronged announcement to address food affordability and farmer costs amid the Russia/Ukraine conflict is one that America’s soybean farmers can get behind.
Brad Doyle, soybean and wheat farmer from Weiner, Arkansas, and American Soybean Association (ASA) President said, “The president is improving access to double cropping insurance coverage and technical assistance for precision agriculture and nutrient management, and he is investing more into domestic fertilizer production. We applaud this announcement and look forward to soybean farmers realizing these benefits.”
As the supply chain experiences complications during the current global environment, U.S. soybean farmers are proud to contribute high-quality protein to vulnerable populations worldwide and bolster our national security through food security. ASA appreciates the administration considering farmers’ role in the world economy and aiming to protect their profitability here at home.
Illinois Soybean Association
President Joe Biden Visits Illinois Soybean Farm, Announces Fresh Supports for American Farmers
Today, President Joe Biden spent time on a family farm in Kankakee, Illinois, belonging to Illinois soybean farmer and Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) Board Director, Jeff O’Connor. There, he announced his administration’s three-pronged plan of action to support American farmers, reduce food prices, and feed the world.
“The pandemic combined with the Ukraine-Russia conflict has resulted in supply chain disruptions and increasing food, fuel, and fertilizer prices which are negatively impacting farm families and leading to shortages of food in countries across the globe,” says ISA Board Chairman, Steve Pitstick. “The Illinois Soybean Association is grateful for the opportunity today to discuss farmer concerns, the sustainable solutions our industry brings to the table, and to learn more about what we can be doing to relieve pain points that are echoing throughout communities around the world.”
During the farm visit, the President announced new actions to give farmers the tools and resources they need to boost production, and play a critical role in mitigating global price hikes. As the world’s second largest exporter of wheat and soybeans, these actions will help grow new markets for American-grown food, supporting jobs in rural communities across the country. These administrative flexibilities implemented by USDA could include:
• Increasing the number of counties eligible for double cropping insurance. Double cropping allows farmers to plant a second crop on the same land in the same year, helping boost production without relying on farmers to substitute crops or cultivate new land. But it is not free from risk and some farmers who practice double cropping cannot obtain crop insurance. The Biden-Harris Administration is seeking to expand insurance for double cropping to as many as 681 additional counties, bringing the total number of counties where this practice qualifies for crop insurance to as many as 1,935, so more American farmers have the financial security they need to start or expand double cropping.
• Cutting costs for farmers by increasing technical assistance for technology-driven “precision agriculture” and other nutrient management tools. Precision agriculture is a farm management system that allows farmers to use technology to target application of inputs to soil and plant needs, resulting in less fertilizer usage without reducing yields, saving farmers money over time and extending the usefulness of critical products in short supply worldwide. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has planning and cost sharing assistance programs available to help American farmers with nutrient management. The Administration is working to boost outreach to farmers, streamline the application process, and prioritize application approvals to expand access to these critical programs.
• Doubling funding for domestic fertilizer production. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled since last year, due in part to supply chain disruptions created and exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including rising energy costs. Today, President Biden announced that he is doubling his initial $250 million investment in domestic fertilizer production to $500 million to lower costs and boost availability for farmers, so they can obtain the inputs they need at prices they can afford to maximize yields.
“And to all our farmers, I want you to know: we have your back,” said Biden.
Leadership from the Illinois Soybean Association spoke with Biden on the wheat double crop system, and the need for support for U.S. wheat breeding programs. Beginning in 2020 double crop wheat followed by soybeans became insurable under federal crop insurance programs for each crop instead of as previously being insured jointly. This allows greater flexibility for farmers and promoted crop rotation.
“ISA applauds the efforts being made by this Administration, specifically by Secretary Vilsack and USDA staff for reaching out to farmers across the country to hear what tools they need to increase double crop soybeans and wheat,” said Pitstick. “ISA encourages USDA to continue their aggressive outreach and collaboration to find double crop solutions that make an impact at the farm level and globally.”
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the websites www.ilsoy.org and www.ilsoygrowers.com.