What’s Next? Potential Chemical Shortage Looming for Vegetable Producers

Clint Thompson Florida, Georgia, Top Posts

By Clint Thompson

Some supplies are in limited quantity for growers this spring. One South Georgia farmer is concerned about a potential shortage for the rest of this year with certain chemicals.

“Down the road, there looks like possibly some potential problems with supply on chemicals,” said Kent Hamilton, owner and CEO of Southern Valley in Norman Park, Georgia. “Supposedly, according to the distributors and company reps that we do business with, a lot of the chemical companies have gone to the distributors saying, we need a forecast on what you’re going to need. They forecasted that, and that’s what they were going to produce. They didn’t want to carry extra product into 2022. So, if there’s some kind of outbreak or problem and extra chemicals are needed for that problem, there may not be enough chemicals to go around. That’s something else we’re looking at for the fall and winter.”

Year-Round Operation

Southern Valley is a year-round operation. Chemicals are needed for the summer in Tennessee; fall in Georgia; and winter in Mexico. Hamilton has to ensure the supply is available to produce a crop. It’s a tough forecast for farmers to make. There is a different challenge every year.

“Maybe there’s a problem this year that wasn’t last year. You just try to take the middle of the road and anticipate having some problem and all those different areas and hope we’ve got enough material to cover it,” Hamilton said. “We still don’t know if we’re going to be able to order the chemicals and put a PO on them; if we’re going to be guaranteed them or are we going to have to pay for them and take possession of them? If we have to pay for them and take possession that’s a lot of capital outlaid. You’ve got product just sitting in a warehouse that you don’t need until six or eight months down the road.”