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Biden outlines plan to spice up U.S. agriculture manufacturing as Ukraine invasion fuels excessive meals costs

President Joe Biden on Wednesday outlined White Home plans to assist American farmers increase crop manufacturing to counter diminished meals exports from Europe attributable to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The president, who spoke from a farm in Kankakee, Illinois, famous that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault has pushed up the worldwide costs of quite a lot of meals staples, together with wheat, corn, barley, oilseeds and cooking oil. Russia and Ukraine, mixed, provide greater than 25% of the world’s wheat exports and about 20% of barley exports.

“Proper now, America is combating on two fronts,” Biden informed the group assembled on the farm. “At house, it is inflation and rising costs. Overseas, it is serving to Ukrainians defend their democracy, and feeding those that are left hungry world wide as a result of Russian atrocities exist.”

In an try and quell meals shortages, the Biden administration stated it plans to extend the variety of counties eligible for insurance coverage for double cropping, which is when farmers plant a second crop on the identical land in the identical 12 months.

“Double cropping comes with actual dangers,” the president stated. “If the climate situations aren’t ideally suited, or at the very least good … then the timing of all the pieces is thrown off.”

“But it surely’s a danger we have to take,” Biden added. “That is why my administration is tips on how to lengthen crop insurance coverage protection to offer monetary safety to farmers.”

The White Home hopes these steps will assist U.S. farmers high a record-setting 2021 rising season, throughout which the worth of American agricultural exports hit $177 billion.

(L-R) Gina and Jeff O’Connor, homeowners of O’Connor Farms, US President Joe Biden, and US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack communicate whereas visiting O’Connor Farm in Kankakee, Illinois, on Might 11, 2022.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Pictures

The most recent initiatives come a month after the United Nations warned that as many as 1.7 billion individuals are “extremely uncovered” to the domino impact of Russia’s struggle on international meals, vitality and finance techniques. The worldwide physique stated the invasion threatens to worsen starvation in international locations which can be already malnourished.

Even in international locations the place meals shouldn’t be as scarce, costs are taking big chunks out of paychecks. Within the U.S., the Labor Division stated Wednesday morning that the costs People pay for groceries rose 1% in April and are up 10.8% during the last 12 months.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in April stated international meals costs are “skyrocketing.”

The White Home stated it additionally plans to double its funding in home fertilizer manufacturing, to $500 million from $250 million, to decrease prices for growers.

The trouble will try and ease one of many principal culprits behind the spike in meals costs: a worldwide scarcity of fertilizer.

“That is why earlier this 12 months, the U.S. Division of Agriculture introduced that will make investments $250 million to provide fertilizer manufacturing,” Biden stated Wednesday, recalling an earlier dialog he had with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“I turned to Tom, and I stated, ‘Tom, double that. Make it $500 million.’ It is so desperately wanted. We won’t take probabilities,” Biden stated. “It’s vital to get this finished.”

Russia and Belarus, one in every of Moscow’s allies, present about 40% of the world’s exports of potash. Farmers depend on the potassium-rich salt and element within the globe’s fertilizer business to spice up annual harvests.

Lately, Russia additionally exported 11% of the world’s urea and 48% of the ammonium nitrate, two different key fertilizer parts, in accordance with estimates from Morgan Stanley.

“Fertilizer costs have greater than doubled since final 12 months, due partly to provide chain disruptions created and exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the White Home stated in a truth sheet it printed Wednesday morning.

“These actions will assist develop new markets for American-grown meals, supporting jobs in rural communities throughout America,” the administration added.

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