Rising crop prices and an economy emerging from the doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic are creating greater demand for fertilizer, tightening supply chains and boosting input prices considerably, industry officials and observers say.
Producers hit with wet planting conditions, a drought, and high winds are preparing for a long and slow corn and soybean harvest the next couple of weeks. Weather pattern changes for the upper Midwest could only make matters worse if the crop isn't harvested in time.
Over 100 biofuel plants across the country are fully idling or cutting production rates as gas prices fall because people are staying at due to the COVID-19 outbreak and major oil producers feud over output.
How about input prices linked to outcomes? Supporters say it could be another tool for farmers to offset financial risk at a time when weather, trade, and commodity price uncertainty are plaguing the market.
Global demand for U.S. ethanol has grown substantially over the last decade, but ongoing trade tensions, policy enforcement, and changing markets could set up potential roadblocks for the industry in the years ahead.
Ethanol producers are hopeful for an increase in year-round E15 gasoline sales after the Trump administration okayed its summertime sale, but consumer demand will likely be modest due to fears of litigation, a lack of blender pumps, and challenges posed by some state regulations.