Friday, December 28, 2007


Fertilizer, Again

Here is an interesting item on a law passed by the US Congress to “make sure ammonium nitrate does not fall into the wrong hands.” Ostensibly, the purpose is to keep the compound out of the hands of would-be terrorists because it can also be used in explosives. But considering the worldwide surge in fertilizer prices and declining availability, why couldn’t it be just to control fertilizer? That would seem to make more sense in the current economic context. Surely, we can expect people to steal ammonium nitrate for fertilizer, either for their own use or to sell.

Readers will recall that I have been saying farmers will begin falling back on organic inputs as artificial fertilizers become more expensive, and here is a recent article that recommends doing that very thing, for that very reason. This marks the beginning of a trend that will put farmers in direct competition with biofuel producers — the former seeking organic inputs for their fields, and the latter seeking feedstock for their biofuel plants. And since, when push comes to shove, people will choose food over car fuel, the farmers are going to win.

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