VINTON, Iowa — After hearing from countless agriculture industry professionals and farm families about record-breaking and exorbitant fertilizer costs during her 99-county tour, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa ), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, hosted a roundtable discussion with farmers, industry professionals, and federal and state policymakers to discuss the impact of historical prices on farmers and the industry.
- For B-Roll footage and photos from the event, click HERE.
“As fertilizer costs soar to record highs, in some cases topping 14-year highs, Iowa farmers face a crisis,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Today’s roundtable – featuring farmers, leaders of some of Iowa’s major agricultural groups, industry professionals, and federal and state policymakers – was an engaging discussion to better understand the causes of these historical costs and ultimately finding solutions. I look forward to continuing these conversations and tackling this crisis head-on to ensure Iowa farmers, who nurture and power the world, can continue to thrive.
In some cases, fertilizer costs have increased by 300% over the past year. These historical costs are putting additional pressure on farmers’ livelihoods, reducing their margins despite rising commodity prices, and forcing many to rethink their planting and application strategies.
During today’s discussion, Ernst heard from leaders of some of Iowa’s major agricultural groups talking about the impact of these increased costs. Federal and state policymakers and private sector innovators of new agricultural technologies also joined the conversation to bring their perspective on the crisis and provide insight into possible solutions to help farmers and the agricultural community.
Participants in today’s roundtable included: Assistant Secretary Julie Kenney of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; State Sen. Dan Zumbach, chairman of the Iowa Senate Agriculture Committee; Dr. Zachary Stewart, an official from USAID’s Center for Agriculture-Led Growth; Lance Lillibridge, president of Iowa Corn and an Iowa farmer who hosted today’s meeting at his farm; Brent Johnson, president of the Iowa Federation of Agricultural Bureaux; Robb Ewoldt, president of the Iowa Soybean Association; Jason Troendle, director of market intelligence and research for the Fertilizer Institute; Chris Behrens, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Heartland Cooperative; and Amanda De Jong, head of government relations and policy engagement for Pivot Bio, an agricultural biotechnology company.
While touring County 99, Ernst constantly heard from farmers about the impact of these increased fertilizer costs. Last week, Ernst sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai along with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asking for affordable and accessible inputs for U.S. farmers and agricultural producers. The senators implored the ambassador to immediately prioritize growers’ fertilizer needs.
Today’s roundtable in Benton County marked Ernst’s 68th stop on his 2022 99 county tour.