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Russia-Ukraine War already impacting farmers in the Heartland

How it impacts the Heartland
Posted at 7:11 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 20:11:34-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The crisis in Ukraine and Russia is causing a ripple effect of issues across the world, including the Heartland.

Commodity prices are going up, bringing negative impacts to the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Wheat, corn and soybeans are all crops whose prices have gone up.

"The Ukraine is a bread basket in that region: it's a big wheat producer, big wheat exporter. When you have war disrupting those ports in the Black Sea from which that wheat is shipped. That supply chain disruption translates into higher prices elsewhere. So people will be clamoring to get those commodities that they need," said farmer Ed Morse of Council Bluffs.

Russia is an exporter of various kinds of fertilizer, and Morse warns of a potential price hike. Already, corn has seen about a 40% price increase since the beginning of the year.

"This is obviously a low-demand time for fertilizer because it's too early. But we're expecting those prices to stay where they were. Which is more than double what they were a year ago," Morse said.

Morse is a cattle feeder who has seen some increases in beef prices but is concerned the supply chain disruptions could impact the export markets, keeping prices lower.

"We also face a compounding problem of high feed costs may drive further liquidations in the beef cattle herd. Those further liquidations put more supplies of beef on the market. That'll help consumers by depressing the rate of increase associated with beef prices. But that doesn't help cover all the higher corn costs, fuel costs and input costs of producing those cattle," Morse said.

"I think it's gonna have a negative impact. I think, and the reason I say that is the increase in costs but also the potential for trade barriers, trade restrictions," Creighton University Economics Professor Ernie Goss said.

This crisis abroad that creates ripple effects on farmlands and homes speaks volumes to Goss.

"We're talking about volatility of course — the volatility that Nebraska experiences — we're going to see that in spades going forward," Goss said.

"I think Europe is going to have to reassess its dependence on Russia. It's shown itself to be a non-dependable ally," Morse said.

Since this conflict, wheat prices have increased from $7 to $9 per bushel and soybeans have gone up from $12 to roughly $16 a bushel — all comparable increases in all these commodities.

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