NEW BERN, Craven County — As the fire continues to burn at the fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, here is how it could impact our area.
Experts in crop and soil sciences at N.C. State Dr. Fred Yelverton said there is already a shortage of fertilizer with prices of many types more than doubled.
He thinks this fire at the plant could make things even worse.
“Everyone in the business is concerned," said Yelverton.
Watching the fire burn several hundred tons of ammonium nitrate at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant in Winston-Salem, Yelverton thinks of farmers, landscapers and others already dealing with inflation.
“You know all fertilizer prices have gone up and certainly an incident like this will exacerbate any shortages that you have," he said.
Product Manager at Harvey Fertilizer and Gas Co. Brandon Cole said they are already looking for alternative types of fertilizer at his company.
Alternative types he and Yelverton both predict will likely be more expensive than they already are with increased demand as others will be forced to switch as well.
But Yelverton said people like farmers don’t really have a choice but to buy it, regardless of a hefty price tag, if they want to stay in the business.
“Nitrogen is the most important element in growing food and fiber crops and just growing anything. You can’t produce agricultural commodities without nitrogen. So it’s not like it’s something you can get by without. You know, it is, it is the nutrients,” Yelverton said.
As for how bad Yelverton expects the shortage and price increases to get, he said it's too soon to say.