Grant programs when fertilizer costs are high

Strained supply chains mean that the price of fertilizer is at a high not seen since 2008.

Prices for Urea, DAP, and Potash have roughly doubled since the start of the 2021 and there’s no indication that prices will decline in the near term. Farmers are price takers on fertilizers, so there’s not much you can do on a price per unit. So it’s worth considering how many units are being utilized per acre.

One helpful tool to consider is a Nutrient Management Plan. This helps farmers apply the right amount of fertilizer. And reduces spending on fertilizer that’s not utilized by the crop. It has the added environmental benefit of cutting down on fertilizer run-off which damages America’s waterways.

USDA programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) offer funds to offset the cost of a Nutrient Management Program. While incentive payments differ from state to state, in Ohio, EQIP will pay farmers between $6.48 per acre for using an Nutrient Management Plan to best utilize conventional fertilizer usage and $59.69 per acre for using precision fertilizer management on the farm.

Farmers can also do something different with some of their land while input prices are high. One idea is to enroll unproductive fields in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CRP encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as tame or native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filterstrips, or riparian buffers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multi-year contract. Cost sharing is provided to establish the vegetative cover practices.

FarmRaise can help farmers think through the applicability and benefits of these programs and apply to them. We offer an online EQIP application that takes around 20 minutes and cuts through 8 cumbersome government forms. Sign up today.

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