President Biden’s pick to be the next Chief Ag Negotiator says, if confirmed, he’ll engage with China to step up its production of fertilizer ingredients as farm input costs here soar.  Doug McKalip speaking before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday said if confirmed, farm input inflation will be a top priority.

“These are times of tremendous opportunity in international trade. But if the bills that farmers have to pay for their inputs negate those gains, we will have missed an opportunity.”

Aside from Russia, McKalip said China is another big producer of fertilizer ingredients.

“China, for example, has shut down exports of urea and other nitrate-based materials that are used in the manufacturing of fertilizer. So, if confirmed, I would want to work, directly engage, with my Chinese counterparts to see how we could open up the flow of key inputs and minerals.”

Texas A&M’s Ag and Food Policy Center reported early this year that record fertilizer prices could increase another 80% by the time 2022 comes to an end.  The Ukraine-Russia conflict has led to supply shortages, with both nations major producers of Ag commodities and inputs.  Russia, alone, accounts for 23% of global ammonia exports, 14% of urea, 21% for potash, and 10% of processed phosphates.

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