ICGA applauds DOC for lowering fertilizer duties

Nov 07, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA

IL Corn joins the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) in applauding the U.S. Department of Commerce for its assistance in lowering future fertilizer prices for farmers.


Last week, the Department of Commerce announced it would decrease the duties placed on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco from 19.97% to 2.12%. Since November 2020, phosphate prices per ton in Illinois increased from approximately $450 per ton to over $700 per ton. The price of the fertilizer reached over $1000 per ton in June 2022.


“Over the past few years farmers have been impacted by high input costs, including extreme fertilizer prices,” said Fairfield farmer Matt Rush who serves as the president of the IL Corn Growers Association. “We are thankful the Department of Commerce is taking steps to ensure our farmers can access affordable products to grow the food we eat every day.”   


The decision comes after the agency conducted an administrative review of the duties, which is performed annually by retroactively examining the price of shipments and other factors. The issue stems from a decision by Commerce in 2020 that favored a petition by the U.S.-based Mosaic to impose duties on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia. Mosaic had claimed that unfairly subsidized foreign companies were flooding the U.S. market with fertilizers and selling the products at extremely low prices.


Soon after the decision, ICGA and NCGA called on Commerce to reverse the decision and asked Mosaic to withdraw its request for tariffs. ICGA engaged with fertilizer manufactures to illustrate the impact high fertilizer prices had on production and hosted economic webinars for its members. ICGA leadership also met with The Mosaic Company in 2022 during Commodity Classic to discuss pricing and the negative impact tariffs have farmers in the United States.


At the time of the meeting ICGA President Matt Rush said, ““At the end of the hour, I was convinced that Mosaic wasn’t really listening and brushed off all our concerns. We are trying to make an impact, but we aren’t getting anywhere fast.” Over the past three years, IL Corn with NCGA has led the charge to raise concerns by filing an amicus brief, sending a letter to the White House, and informing Members of Congress about the impact.


In October of this year, ICGA joined NCGA and 61 other agricultural groups, in a  letter sent to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo calling on her to consider the current difficulties faced by farmers as she recalculates duties on phosphate fertilizer imported from Morocco. That letter and previous actions by corn growers culminated in today’s decision.


Although fertilizer prices have decreased from historic levels since 2022, farmers are concerned volatility of pricing paired with other expensive inputs creates more risk for their family farms. An article by FarmDoc Daily, reports an unparallel trend in fertilizer costs and commodity prices. The economic report said, “ Furthermore, projected per acre fertilizer expenses for the 2024 crop year are above the fertilizer costs experienced during the most recent extended period of lower commodity prices and farm returns experiences from 2014 to 2019.


“Input prices and corn prices don’t always match,” said Rush. “It often takes time for our inputs to lower at the same rate as the market. In return, this impacts the bottom line for our Illinois farmers.”


In a separate matter, in September, Commerce was ordered by the U.S. Court of International Trade to reconsider the duty rate calculation because of flaws found in Commerce’s analysis. A decision on that matter is expected on Dec. 13.