A recent problem that has hit farmers with rising prices is inflation in the fertilizer market.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report on June 30 on rising fertilizer prices. According to the report, fertilizers make up about 20% of a farm’s costs. Although the United States produces fertilizers, the price of fertilizers purchased for the 2023 planting season could jump as Russia produces about 15% of the world’s total fertilizers. The USDA said that despite a slight price increase in 2021, fertilizers have yet to really rise. However, American farmers have had the choice of choosing crops that require less fertilizer or reducing the total amount of crops they produce in response to market turmoil.
For small farms that frequent farmers’ markets, the landscape looks even bleaker. “Seed and fertilizer costs have skyrocketed for us, even organics,” Pocica told The Takeout. Erica Burke, a farmer from Michigan, describes how she waits for supplies, which means if her trees die, it would be catastrophic: “If my trees die, I can’t get replacement trees. I can’t get boxes for packaging. I can’t get fertilizer.
Large agricultural corporations may be able to afford this increased cost due to the size of their production, but small farms that frequent farmers’ markets are just as lucky.