- Editor's Note -

It’s neat to learn something new

By Amanda Huber

If you look on the masthead at left, you will see that our company offers several publications. One that you may not be familiar with is Rice Farming. I have yet to see a rice/peanut rotation, so I feel pretty confident in saying that. My colleague, Carroll Smith, is the editor of that book, and I am the copy editor. You’ll see that she copy edits this book.

Having to read all the articles in Rice Farming is actually kind of neat because I am always learning something new. If any of my professors covered rice for my Agronomy degree, I must have been asleep because I just don’t remember it. But now, it is a treat to learn about the production of a crop I am not as familiar with.

An article this past month, titled “New Urea Source Pending,” was about efforts on both the legislative and regulatory fronts to help alleviate urea costs by increasing supply. One thing I have learned is that rice needs a lot of fertilizer. Another thing is that there are very few manufacturers of fertilizer left in the United States.

In the article, Carroll writes that there is a bill pending in Congress that would remove an anti-dumping duty on urea from Russia and the Ukraine. Another bill would remove the duty on ammonium nitrate from Russia. As stated in the article, the United States imposes an import duty of almost 64 percent on urea from these countries, dating all the way back to the Cold War era and certainly before their market-based economies.

On the regulatory front, a new Russian-based company is trying to get permission to bring product into the United States under a process called a “new shipper review.” This company was not in business when the import duties were assessed, and they argue, therefore, that they should not be subject to those same duties because they were not responsible for the dumping that lead to the duties initially.

After a lengthy application process, the Department of Commerce is set to rule on this case in May. While one more company bringing in urea may not be enough to drop the price, it will still help on the supply side, and rice industry leaders hope it would at least stop any further price increase.

Hopefully, the Farm Bill will be finalized soon and Congress can take up other bills, such as the one mentioned here, that will help alleviate the staggering input costs growers are currently experiencing.