X-Message-Number: 21949
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: Natural gas shortage versus food security
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 11:22:08 -0700


Greenspan's comments put focus on rising natural gas prices

Among the hardest hit so far is the U.S. fertilizer industry, which uses 
natural gas to produce ammonia, a component of nitrogen fertilizer.

According to the Fertilizer Institute, a Washington trade group, about 20 
percent of U.S. fertilizer production has been shut down permanently and an 
additional 25 percent is down temporarily because of gas prices. Kathy 
Mathers, a vice president for the group, called the situation the gravest 
the industry has faced since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Fertilizer prices have as much as doubled, and imports -- which rely on 
lower foreign gas prices -- are grabbing a larger share of the U.S. market. 
Some think U.S. farmers could eventually rely on imported fertilizer, which 
would have its own implications for national security.

"It's a tremendous concern," said David Jobe, a senior vice president for 
MFA Inc., a farmer cooperative in Columbia and a fertilizer distributor.

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