Prices for key farm inputs, including fertilizer and diesel fuel, have been rising faster than the general inflation rate, according to a University of Illinois study.

The two key exceptions are worker pay and seed prices, the study said.

An index of agricultural production items, a broad measure of farm input costs, is up 15.6% over the past 12 months.

The cost of anhydrous ammonia has risen the most of any input included in the study, jumping 179% over the past 12 months. Potash prices have increased 107.5%, while prices for DAP, or diammonium phosphate, are up 51.4%. Diesel prices have risen 47.4%.

Meanwhile, seed prices have been relatively stable, rising just 0.2%, and farm wages are up 2.3%, well under the increase in the cost of living. The Consumer Price Index rose 1.2% in March and is up 8.5% over the past 12 months. Supermarket prices are up by 10% over the past year.

By comparison, agricultural production costs rose an average of just 1.2% a year from 2012 through 2021, according to the study. Anhydrous ammonia prices rose by an annual rate of 2.3% while wages increased 4% a year over that 10-year period, and the cost of seed rose at an average annual rate of 1.2%.

Diesel prices actually declined by an average of 0.2% over that period.

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