2,4-D tariffs would hurt farmers

Saying growers need reliable access to essential farming tools, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Harold Wolle warned the U.S. International Trade Commission of the consequences for America’s farmers if the agency grants a petition to levy tariffs on imported 2,4-D, an often-used herbicide that has been on the market for decades.

“The scenario under consideration has the potential to limit imports of an important product, raise its price, and create a supply shortage, all while raising the cost of production in an already tight market,” Wolle said. “Farmers are price takers, not makers in selling our commodities, and closely managing our production costs is crucial to our success. Thus, tariffs on these products would create an even more difficult economic scenario for me, my family, and the farmers I represent.”

Wolle’s testimony comes after Corteva Inc. filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions with the ITC on March 14 over India and China’s trade practices involving the herbicide. Herbicides are one of the most significant inputs for raising crops, and 2,4-D-based products are widely used herbicides for corn and soybeans. 

NCGA, citing data showing that the bulk of imported 2,4-D comes from Asia, said the duties on these products could place a hardship on America’s growers who may struggle to gain access to the herbicide or see prices for the product become virtually unaffordable.

The petition couldn’t come at a worse time, Wolle noted, as the price of corn has declined by more than 40% over the last two years, and the average cost of producing corn was higher than the average selling price of corn in 2023.

Farmers are expecting that margin of loss to be even worse in 2024 — even before taking this new trade case into account. NCGA noted companies like Corteva Inc. provide valuable innovations to farmers but that it is important that growers have access to imported products as well.  
“We are thankful companies like Corteva have invested in new technologies, including seed traits and herbicides, that allow us to continue producing more effectively and efficiently every year,” Wolle said. “However, farmers simply cannot rely upon a sole supplier for nearly all of our 2,4-D needs. That will undoubtedly lead to shortages and delays in an industry that must have timely delivery.”

Within the next 45 days, the ITC will determine if there is a reasonable indication that the imports are injuring or threatening to injure the U.S. industry. If the ITC finds that this standard is met, the cases will move to the Department of Commerce, which will calculate the preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duty margins.

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One comment

  1. When it comes to selling goods and tightly controlling manufacturing costs, farmers are price takers rather than makers. As a result, tariffs on these goods will make the already challenging economic situation much worse.

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