Lawmakers in the state House and Senate recently adopted three resolutions — supported by Michigan Farm Bureau — calling on various government bodies to address fertilizer shortages and price increases.
House Resolution 205, sponsored by Rep. Steve Carra, urges Congress, federal agencies, and state departments to address fertilizer price increases and shortages. House Resolution 289 and Senate Resolution 139, sponsored by Rep. Luke Meerman and Sen. Curt VanderWall, respectively, call on Congress to pass legislation allowing farmers to petition the U.S. International Trade Commission to temporarily waive tariffs on imports of fertilizer from Morocco.
The Legislature’s action follows a May 18 House Agriculture Committee hearing and a May 12 Senate Agriculture Committee hearing where legislators and individuals spoke in support of the resolutions, including Monroe County Farm Bureau member John Delmotte.
He joined the hearing via video from the cab of his tractor, sharing the impact increasing fertilizer costs have taken on his livelihood, and asking the committee to think about the price increases in the same way they would with their own family.
“Think about your family budget and imagine certain costs to maintain your household doubling and or tripling,” Delmotte said.
“Then take that down to a scale that we're talking about. We're talking about tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in input costs. Imagine what that does to your family's ability to provide regular living essentials.”
Beyond the monetary costs for farmers, Delmotte said yield decreases must be considered when farmers face the decision of if they’ll cut back on fertilizer to cut costs.
“We are going to see reduced yields, there's no question about that,” Delmotte told lawmakers.
“Maybe we don't see that this year, but long term you certainly have the opportunity for that to happen. So, I think that that it would be important for this committee to look at this from a holistic approach and recognize that we have businesses at stake, we have families at stake, and we also have a national food security issue at stake when we bring all those components together.”
Watch Delmotte’s full comments, starting at the 49-minute mark.
While there are many factors at play that are impacting the cost and availability of fertilizer on a global scale, any action from Congress to provide relief from record-high prices would be welcome news to Michigan farmers, according to Rebecca Park, MFB Legislative Counsel.
“A resolution isn’t a law, but instead acts as an expression of sentiment from the legislature that shows their support for action in Congress,” Park said.
“We appreciate the interest from the resolution’s sponsors on this important issue impacting Michigan farmers and look forward to working with our friends in Congress for long term change.”