President Biden announces more efforts to help farmers battle price hikes

DELMARVA- President Biden announced new ways that he wants to help farmers as they get slammed with price increases.

Those price increases are being caused by the pandemic, supply chain issues, and the invasion of Ukraine. Russia has cut off critical crop sources leading to food shortages; and the invasion disrupted global supply chains for fertilizer. Now, President Biden is doing more to help those farmers who are struggling. He said the administration will increase the number of counties eligible for double cropping. Double cropping allows farmers to plant a second crop on the same land in the same year, helping boost production without relying on farmers to substitute crops or cultivate new land.

“For instance, farmers may have the possibility of growing wheat during winter time, they harvest wheat and then they grow corn or soybeans,” Dr. Stephan Tubene, a UMES Associate Professor said. “Soybeans will provide more nitrogen into the soil after harvesting the wheat crop. So, that will not only give the flexibility to the farmers in order of increasing the supply of those commodities; but also at the same time it also puts pressure on the farmers because of the length that they are required to grow those crops.”

The Administration says they will also cut costs or farmers by increasing technical assistance for technology driven “precision agriculture” and other nutrient management. Precision agriculture is a farm management system allowing farmers to use technology to target application of inputs to soil and plant needs.

“It’s safe in terms of cost of production, which will be lower rather than using lets say 5 or 50 pounds of fertilizer, you’ll be using half of that and that will basically cut your production costs in terms of input being bought by the farmer,” Dr. Tubene said.

Lastly, President Biden said they will double funding for domestic fertilizer production. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled since last year, due in part to supply chain disruptions created and exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including rising energy costs. The Administration is doubling his initial $250 million investment to $500 million in domestic production.

“It is a small step, but it’s going to bare fruit in the long run in the sense that you are able to substitute the foreign input by domestic input,” Dr. Tubene said. “So, that will really lower the cost. I think the bottom line is finding ways to help farmers to be able to control those costs and if they control the costs of production they will be able to increase the supply.”

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland, Ukraine Impact