Monday, March 14, 2022

U.S. inquires into fertilizer and seed pricing

The United States Department of Agriculture has launched an inquiry into fertilizer and seed industry concentration and pricing, and it’s bound to target Nutrien of Saskatoon.

The inquiry stems from the Biden administration’s July 2021 executive order to promote competition across the U.S. economy, the agency said in a release Friday.

Nutrien is the world’s largest producer of potash and the largest fertilizer retailer. It is the former Saskatchewan Potash Corp. and Agrium of Calgary.

Global supply chain problems and inflation have sent fertilizer and other farm input prices soaring, limiting farmers’ ability to capitalize on decade-high grain prices. 

Fertilizer is expected to be even more scarce as global markets shun Russia, a fertilizer exporter to North and South America, following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“Concentrated market structures and potentially anticompetitive practices leave America’s farmers, businesses, and consumers facing higher costs, fewer choices and less control about where to buy and sell, and reduced innovation — ultimately making it harder for those who grow our food to survive,’ U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release.