MANITOWOC, Wis.— The war in Ukraine has farmers worried about the cost of and availability of fertilizer for the upcoming planting season.

Dale Wagner runs Twin Elm Dairy in Manitowoc. Besides raising dairy cows, he grows crops on hundreds of acres of land.

“We’re standing right next to a hayfield here, which basically we’ll use potash on because that’s the type of fertilizer the hay needs,” he Wagner said. “The concern we still have with that, especially considering world affairs right now, there’s a lot of potash that comes out of Ukraine and Russia area is we might have the price locked in, but I’m concerned about the availability of it.”

The cost of certain fertilizers have already increased as much as 300%.

Jason Fischer is an instructor in the agriculture program at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. He said the volatile market has provided a great learning environment for students looking to enter the agriculture industry. Fischer is also Wagner’s nephew.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve had increases in fertilizer [and] input costs, but to have it happen while they’re students here. It’s awesome teaching moments because these things come and they go, and they come back again and the more we teach them now the better prepared they’ll be,” Fischer said.

Wagner said this latest wrinkle in the cost of doing business is adding to what is already a difficult time to farm in Wisconsin.

“Well, everything’s a challenged. We’re used to that,” he said. “We’ll find a way to adapt.”