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Waive fertilizer dumping duties, corn farmers ask

U.S. companies should give farmers a break by withdrawing their petitions for anti-dumping duties on imported fertilizer, said a corn farmer group at a House hearing on Tuesday that was dominated by reports of rising crop production costs.

Farm groups generally called for higher price supports in the upcoming 2023 farm bill, with rice, soybean and cotton growers saying the $125,000-a-person annual limit on crop subsidies was too low.

“The high prices of these last two years will not last forever and it is important that Congress maintain a strong safety net in place given the cyclical nature of the farm economy,” said Nicole Berg, vice president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, to the House Agriculture Committee.

“Rising input costs are a major concern,” said Chris Edgington, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “Specifically, fertilizer prices have soared to record levels and several companies have unfortunately made a bad situation worse for growers by applying for tariffs to be applied to phosphate and nitrogen fertilizers.”

NCGA and state affiliates have made “a direct request of those companies to voluntarily withdraw their tariff petitions,” said Edgington.

Several agricultural groups are challenging, in the U.S. Court of International Trade, the decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission a year ago to impose countervailing duties of up to 47% on phosphate from Russia and Morocco, reported DTN/Progressive Farmer. Trade officials also have set preliminary duties of up to 137% on UAN (urea ammonium nitrate) from Russia and Trinidad. Russia is a leader fertilizer exporter.

Groups representing peanut, rice, sunflower, cotton, wheat and corn farmers said production costs were up sharply, with fertilizer a leading reason.

The Sino-U.S. trade war, the pandemic and a spate of droughts, freezes and damaging storms, all of which led to tens of billions of dollars in stop-gap payments, have sparked interest in a stand-by disaster program that would work alongside crop subsidies and crop insurance. Cotton and sugar leaders mentioned the idea during testimony.

Feedback from listening sessions with soybean farmers this winter provided “clear direction that if a standing disaster assistance program is created, the financial protection provided by Title I (crop subsidy) programs and crop insurance should not be reduced to fund the disaster program,” said Brad Doyle, president of the American Soybean Association.

To watch a video of the hearing, click here.

To read the written testimony of farm groups, click here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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