Russian invasion of Ukraine impacts Texas agriculture

Texas farmers and ranchers are experiencing the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine financially with both increased costs for production inputs and higher commodity prices resulting from the war.

Ukraine is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of barley and corn, and it’s the fifth-largest exporter of wheat. Ukraine is the world’s largest producer and exporter of sunflower seed and its products, responsible for 47% of global exports in the 2020/21 trade year.

Not only will an ongoing war likely lead to fewer planted acres, but it is also likely to change the mix of crops that will be planted and harvested.

The availability and price of fertilizer has been a top concern of farmers around the world for months. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has only complicated already challenging global fertilizer markets.

Western sanctions and Russia’s retaliatory export ban have taken Russia, a significant producer and exporter of fertilizer, out of many countries’ markets.

Russia is a major global player in all three nutrients that compose fertilizer: nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.

“I think the biggest thing is this war needs to come to an end, but I think in terms of our U.S. agriculture, we need to be cognizant of what’s happening around the world and be as nimble as we can be in reacting to these changes,” Dr. Darren Hudson, director of the International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness at Texas Tech University, told the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network. “Producers are going to have to make a lot of tough decisions this spring about what they can and can’t do, what they can afford and not afford to do, and that’s going to have implications for the way we go forward over the next six to 12 months.”

Rising fuel and energy prices, largely driven by uncertainty due to the Russian invasion, are being experienced by farmers and ranchers both directly and in products produced with petroleum.

“The rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other supplies create an unwelcome counterforce to higher commodity prices,” American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall said. “Higher prices for crops are getting a lot of attention right now and, of course, help farmers balance the books, but when expenses are rising just as quickly or even outpacing revenue, the financial gains evaporate.”

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