NEW BERN, North Carolina (WLOS) -- Last year crops were good for ENC farmers, but this year it could be a different story.
Local farmers and business owners like Chris Mize of Arthur Farms are worried, saying the cost of everything is going up, including fertilizer which he needs for his crops and to feed his livestock.
Mize said the price of fertilizer has tripled and it's not just the price that has him worried, but also the availability of fertilizer.
"The challenge now is with Russia and the Ukraine, the issue is the port in Ukraine closed a lot of our nitrate (nitrogen) which would be stored in these tanks behind us," Mize said.
"Twelve months ago, when growers were putting down crops last year, they would've priced around $200 a ton, this year prices are around $600 a ton," Mize said.
Mize doesn’t see it getting better anytime soon.
“I think that you could possibly see some growers retiring. More family farms are unable to take the hit of these prices," he said.
North Carolina State Soil Fertility Specialist Doctor Luke Gatiboni said farmers need to be worried, and added that farmers need to buy fertilizer now and warns farmers need to only order what they need.
"Natural gas is the most important thing to make nitrogen fertilizer and so we need a lot of energy to produce nitrogen fertilizer, and this is the reason that international price of fertilizer is highly connected to the prices of natural gas," Dr. Gatiboni said.
“The conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is creating supply issues in a larger way than we realize," Mize said.
Dr. Gatiboni recommends North Carolina farmers to get their soils tested and use exactly how much fertilizer they need.
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