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3 Big Things Today, September 28, 2022

USDA increases funding for fertilizer production; U.S. dollar on the rise.


Overnight the U.S. Dollar Index got as high as 114.7. 

Al Kluis with Kluis Commodity Advisors says this is the highest the U.S. dollar has been since 2002, and in the past 12 months the dollar has rallied nearly 25%. 

The higher dollar makes U.S. commodities more expensive for other countries. Naomi Blohm with Total Farm Marketing says typically when the dollar gets this high, other countries can offer cheaper supply. However, she says that is a challenge this year as supply is short worldwide. 

Currently, the U.S. Dollar Index is at 114.6. 

In the grain market, corn is currently down less than a penny, and at its current peak for the overnight trade at $6.67. Soybeans peaked overnight at $14.06. Currently they are down to $14.03. CBOT wheat is up 9¢ to $8.82. 


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Yesterday USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the agency is making $500 million in grants available to boost American-made fertilizer. 

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is creating a resilient, secure and sustainable economy, and this support to provide domestic, independent choices for fertilizer supplies is part of that effort,” says Vilsack in a statement announcing the program. 

The Fertilizer Production Expansion Program was originally announced in March with $250 million in funding. In the months to follow, fertilizer prices soared and the agriculture industry was not shy about sharing their frustration. 

At a roundtable discussion at an Iowa farm in August, Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and U.S. Representative Cindy Axne, heard from over a dozen representatives of Iowa’s agriculture and biofuels sectors. Several brought up the challenge of high input costs, including fertilizer. 

A farmer in attendance even said his input costs were becoming “unbearable.” 

On Tuesday the agency cited the increased burden farmers are facing as the reason for doubling the funding to $500 million. 

There was also discussion at the August roundtable about the impact tariffs have on fertilizer costs. The United States currently has tariffs on phosphate fertilizers from Morocco and Russia. Vilsack and Tai emphasized the administration’s support for domestic production in August and that message was held consistently on Tuesday. 

“Recent supply chain disruptions have shown just how critical it is to invest in the agricultural supply chain here at home,” Vilsack says in the announcement. 

However, not all Americans in agriculture agree with fertilizer tariffs. Jake Niederer, director of sales for ADM Farm Direct Fertilizer expresses concerns over the Moroccan fertilizer tariffs. 

“The reality is, this protection of the [U.S. fertilizer] industry comes at a cost,” he says. “It is borne by the U.S. farmer and U.S. consumer. It will translate into higher food prices.”


This morning all of Minnesota; most of Iowa and Wisconsin; northwest Illinois; parts of eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska; and several counties in northern and central Michigan face a frost advisory or freeze warning. 

Most areas are under a frost advisory until 8 a.m. CDT but a freeze warning is in effect for parts of northeastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan.

The red flag warning indicating conditions for fires has spread across most of Alabama, all of Mississippi, into more of Louisiana, and even parts of eastern Arkansas. 

Alerts related to Hurricane Ian have spread all along the Gulf Coast to the southern tip of Texas, and up the Atlantic Coast as far north as New Jersey. Hurricane Ian is currently off the western coast of Florida. 

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