Higher-than-normal natural gas prices — and, therefore, higher fertilizer prices — will be sticking around for a few more years. This is due to long-term structural problems within the natural-gas industry, according to Matt Roberts, agricultural economist at the Ohio State University.

So, what can you do? Roberts recommends that farmers pay more attention to the natural-gas market. In addition, they need to start thinking of natural gas as a business risk that they must manage. For many producers, the solution will be through the increased use of forward-contracts with fertilizer dealers.