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Russia's invasion of Ukraine impacting wheat, corn, fertilizer prices

Corn is essential for Harr Family Farms in the Metro East. However, to get his hands on it, it's costing owner Bryan Harr a pretty penny.

ST. LOUIS — The war in Ukraine has led major players in the global supply chain to become isolated and disrupted.

It's caused some ripple effects in the rest of the world that go beyond just gas prices.

Sanctions imposed on Russia could affect items like wheat, corn, soybeans and fertilizer. 

Corn is essential for Harr Family Farms in the Metro East.

"These animals such as duck and geese, turkeys, chickens they just love corn in their diet," owner Bryan Harr shares. "I am a small family business and I go through two tons a month."

However, to get his hands on it, it's costing Harr a pretty penny.

"We used to pay a nickel a pound, yesterday we paid 15 cents a pound. It just means that it will cost the consumer more," Harr said. 

Harr has been observing what's going on in Ukraine for many reasons. One is that Russia and Ukraine are some of the largest exporters of corn to China.

Those impacts are already being felt here.

"The price went up higher than it did yesterday. We saw that jump because there are concerns that they won’t fulfill those orders that China needs," Harr said.

According to a Reuters report, Russia and Ukraine produce:

  • 19% of the global corn supplies
  • 29% of global wheat exports
  • and 80% of global sunflower oil exports

Russia is also a major producer of fertilizer products

Justin Goodson, Associate Professor of Operations at SLU said, "The very least, prices will increase, we'll shuffle supply to better match demand."

This would be another hardship to an already strenuous time, Garrett Hawkins, President of Missouri's Farm Bureau, said.

"It has been really challenging over the last year, particularly with skyrocketing fertilizer prices and fertilizer that's needed for us to grow crops, as well as to raise good grass for our livestock," Hawkins said. "We're seeing commodity prices rise now as a result of the uncertainty in the global marketplace."

For Andre Burgess, CEO of LoudBank Garden Supplies, he's also feeling the effects.

"We are noticing the prices are increasing. Fertilizers are one of our big sellers and we’re expecting a big rush this spring too," Burgess said.

That's because a popular pandemic hobby sprouted.

"I’ve seen a lot of people decide to garden and take it up at home," he said.

Burgess suggests coming sooner rather than later, as prices could increase with spring planting season approaching.

The head of the United States Department of Agriculture said US farmers could actually benefit during this time.

This is because it's likely the US would step up to provide additional exports of these products to other countries that depend on Russia and Ukraine.

"Now, it's more important than ever that American farmers and ranchers do what we do best and that step up to help those in need," Hawkins said.

Beyond that, Hawkins wants to assure Missourians.

"Missourians need to know is that we don't have a food supply problem here in the US. Despite rising prices, despite supply chain constraints, consumers need to know that we're going to be OK, and we just need to continue to pray and lift up the people of Ukraine during this difficult time," he said.

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