US-China trade war “not a factor for farmers for spring fertilizer demand”, TFI

Source: ICIS News


LONDON (ICIS)--A trade dispute with China over a 25% tariff on US agricultural products imposed by the former, especially soybean imports will not be a factor in spring fertilizer demand because farmers have already made their planting season cropping decisions, according to the president of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) president.

Chris Jahn added that, while the world has heard strong statements from both the US and Chinese governments, Trump administration officials are telling the agriculture community that a resolution of the issue absent of the implementation of tariffs, is still possible. “We certainly hope that is the case, because our farmer customers depend on the global economy as the market for their goods,”Jahn added.

However, he said that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s annual Prospective Plantings report, released 29 March, forecasts corn and soybean acreage down from previous forecasts.

The two key US spring crops will see a decline in sowings, with corn planted acreage down by 2% and soybean acreage lower by 1%, the USDA said in its prospective plantings report.

The agency is expecting wheat and cotton acreage will gain additional plantings over this season, where commencement has been delayed in many areas. Wet and cold weather has kept farmers at bay on the start of field activities like fertilizer inputs and soil tillage.

Asked about the focus of TFI for the second quarter and the rest of 2018, Jahn said that it will continue to promote the fertilizer industry’s stewardship and sustainability efforts, leveraging information from its 2017 State of the Industry report, and 4R Nutrient Stewardship research and outreach. Several states (Florida, Indiana, New York, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota) are forming 4R Certification programs following the Ohio example – and TFI is providing overarching support to these regional efforts.

The 4R stands for the "Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place" and is a collective push by the industry and end-users to enhance crop yields and provide further environmental safeguards.

Jahn added that TFI’s key legislative priorities include: the Farm Bill, which is being discussed at the House Agriculture Committee this week and is advocating for inclusion of incentives for farmers to adopt 4Rs and advocating to make 4R nutrient stewardship a high priority for research funding.

Also, the TFI will be focusing on the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization/Infrastructure bill, which is supporting increased investment in waterways infrastructure and mine-permitting reforms and the Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards Program reauthorization, which is seeking streamlining of the program’s requirements and increased focus on highest risks.

“TFI will be promoting the incorporation of 4R best management practices in state standards in Q2, will be seeking Competitive Switching policy reform as a small step toward rail competition, looking to ensure railroads meet deadline for Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation and pursuing changes to a number of mining and manufacturing regulations,” Jahn said.


Interview article by Sylvia Traganida

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