The supply chain disruptions associated with the pandemic and Putin’s high prices are driving up food prices for families working here at home and leading to food shortages in countries around the world. Today, President Biden will visit a family farm to announce the measures his administration is taking to support American farmers, lower food prices, and feed the world.
Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine cut off an important source of wheat, corn, barley, oilseeds, and cooking oil. It has also disrupted global supply chains for fertilizers, which farmers depend on to maximize yields. These and other measures, combined with ongoing pandemic-related disruptions in global supply chains, have put pressure on food prices, with global food prices soaring nearly 13 percent after Putin’s invasion.
American farmers are the breadbasket of democracy and are already playing a crucial role in the fight against Putin’s soaring prices. During President Biden’s first year in office, US agricultural exports broke all previous records, totaling a combined $177 billion, generating an estimated $378 billion in total economic output, and supporting 1.3 million jobs here in the United States.
Last month, the president mobilized American farmers to fuel America when he announced that his administration would allow the sale of E15 gasoline — gasoline that uses a blend of 15 percent ethanol — this summer. Today, the president is announcing new measures to give farmers the tools and resources they need to boost production, lower food prices, and feed the world. As the world’s second largest exporter of wheat and soybeans, these actions will help grow new markets for American grown foods, and support jobs in rural communities across America. Specifically, the Biden-Harris administration will:
- Increasing the number of counties eligible for double crop insurance. A double crop system allows farmers to plant a second crop on the same land in the same year, which helps increase production without relying on farmers to replace crops or plant new land. But it is not without risk and some farmers who practice diversified farming cannot obtain crop insurance. The Biden-Harris administration is seeking to expand double-farming insurance to an additional 681 counties, bringing the total number of counties in which the practice qualifies for crop insurance to up to 1935, so more American farmers have the financial security they need to start double mowing. or expand it.
- Reducing costs to farmers by increasing technical assistance for “precision farming” that relies on technology and other nutrient management tools. Precision agriculture is a farm management system that allows farmers to use technology to target the application of inputs to the needs of soil and plants, resulting in less fertilizer use without reducing yields, saving farmers money over time and expanding access to critical, under-supplied products worldwide. The USDA has planning and cost-sharing assistance programs available to assist US farmers with nutrient management. The Biden-Harris administration is strengthening communication with farmers, simplifying the application process, and prioritizing application approvals to expand access to these critical programs.
- Doubling funding for local fertilizer production. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled since last year, in part due to and exacerbated by supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including rising energy costs. Today, President Biden is announcing that he is doubling his initial investment of $250 million in domestic fertilizer production to $500 million to cut costs and boost availability for farmers, so they can get the inputs they need at prices they can afford to maximize yields.