Mosaic Reduces Florida Workforce

U.S. fertilizer production took another hit this last week as 140 workers were laid off at a Mosaic Co. phosphate mine in Florida.

The lay-offs stemmed from a legal challenge of Mosaics attempt to expand its mining operations in Florida. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously issued a permit to Mosaic to expand its mine but the Sierra Club and other environmental groups won a lawsuit that blocked the expansion.

At least 18 companies that do business with Mosaic reportedly could lay off hundreds more workers and lose at least $80 million in revenue if the preliminary injunction becomes permanent.

The U.S. is a net exporter of phosphate but Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA), is concerned the situation in Florida is part of an ongoing trend in which fertilizer production is moving away from the U.S.

And that trend could be costly for U.S. ag retailers, farmers, and even consumers as the cost to grow crops continues to escalate.

The loss of fertilizer production in the U.S. is happening right in front of our faces, Payne said. We’ve been a net exporter of phosphate but, circumstances like this send a message that down the road we could become a net importer of phosphate.

The situation already has occurred in other fertilizer markets.

Ten years ago we were manufacturing 80 percent of nitrogen fertilizer (consumed in the U.S.), Payne said. Now we’re below 50 percent. Were no longer a primary market.

About 50 percent of the ammonia plant capacity currently resides in Asia. China and India consume about 44 percent of all nitrogen fertilizer in the world compared to just 11 percent in the U.S.

The shift in fertilizer production and use patterns means the U.S. will face more competition for fertilizer in the future, according to Joe Kilgus, area sales manager in Southern Illinois for GROWMARK.

The U.S. has become a small player (in the fertilizer market), Kilgus said last month at the Illinois Farm Bureau Commodities Conference. To acquire or keep fertilizer stocks the U.S. has got to outbid the competition.

And the competition for fertilizer is fierce. BHP Billiton this month made a hostile bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. The Potash Corp. board recommended its shareholders reject the hostile takeover bid, which could shake up a potash market dominated by just a handful of players.

Canada, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Israel, and Jordan reportedly account for 90 percent of the worlds potash supply.

Meanwhile, increased regulations and proposed legislation is making it even more difficult for fertilizer companies to expand in the U.S., according to Payne.

The more regulations we have forces businesses to expand their bases to raise money to comply with the regulations, Payne said. Thats why we see fertilizer companies getting bigger and merging.

On the legislative front, proposed cap-and-trade legislation could increase the production of electricity from natural gas, which is a key ingredient for nitrogen fertilizer production. The cost to produce an acre of corn could increase by an estimated $33 per acre by 2020 if cap-and-trade legislation becomes law, according to the IFCA website.

(Source: Illinois Farm Bureau)
 

Leave a Reply

Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More