Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Attorney General Garland calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the fertilizer industry. American farmers are raising concerns about possible anti-competitive activity and market manipulation.
Grassley says fertilizer is an essential input for farmers across the country, and without it, crop yields and agricultural productivity would get significantly smaller.
“I have heard numerous concerns from Iowans and member organizations who are concerned that fertilizer companies are colluding and unfairly raising the price of their products,” Grassley writes in the letter.
The industry has seen dramatic growth in prices: nitrogen fertilizer has doubled in price, anhydrous rose by 131 percent, urea by 110 percent, and potash up 120 percent.
“The DOJ should investigate the fertilizer market so farmers across the country can get assurances that there are no violations of U.S. antitrust law in the fertilizer industry,” Grassley says. “Fertilizer tariffs are placing a huge financial burden on farmers.”
The National Corn Growers Association says one of the top fertilizer companies has erected an insurmountable barrier to keep top competitors out of the U.S. market.
NCGA and its state affiliates signed a letter sent to Mosaic, one of the nation’s top fertilizer producers. The letter takes Mosaic to task for the tariffs that were imposed in March by the International Trade Commission at the fertilizer company’s request.
“Mosaic’s posture to date has been a masterpiece of irresponsible corporate social responsibility,” the letter adds. “Only 15 percent of phosphorous imports now come into the U.S. without tariffs.”
The organization also points out that experts say using the Commerce Department and the Trade Commission to manipulate the supply curve does indeed dictate the price to farmers. The Corn Growers are asking Mosaic to reverse course and allow critical supply back into the U.S.