Western Growers Member Jack Vessey Details Fertilizer ChallengesJune 10, 2022
CALIFORNIA – Fertilizer prices continue to fluctuate, as buyers of the commodity have seen startling highs. According to a report from Bloomberg, although fertilizer prices are dropping, we’ll still be feeling the market squeeze.
The news source noted that prices for certain fertilizers are still 87 percent higher than they were a year ago, and supply chain issues still dog global markets.
A member of Western Growers, Jack Vessey, President of Vessey & Company, spoke with me about the recent fertilizer shortage that has brought hassle to multiple growers across the States.
Jack Vessey, President, Vessey & Company
“We’re just completing our budgets right now from the desert winter vegetable season, and fertilizer is a big component of that budget. And budgets are looking anywhere from 15 to even 20 percent higher than last year. That also counts for our overall growing costs,” Jack explained to me, a situation that is all too common for suppliers these days.
Jack noted that riding the wave is par for the course in instances like this, remarking with a ruefulness I know too well that he has to feed the crops.
“No matter what we’re doing, we’re always looking at different options and different ways to do things to lower our cost per unit. But there’s only so much we can do on that end. We’re looking at different options. Can we get by using less? Can we apply it differently? Yeah, we’re obviously talking crazy and trying to figure out how to do the best job we can with less. But at the same time, you’ve got to make the crop. That’s our number-one goal, to make the crop and keep the cost per unit as low as possible,” Jack said.
Prices also shift per day, so planning is especially difficult. Jack commented that normally you could get a verbal commitment on what prices to expect come the fall, but no one is willing to do so.
Working alongside his production team, Jack is doing all he can to plan for the fall. He explained to me that he isn’t worried about having product—only what the price level will be.