Black Sea grain deal deadline looms

Russia has threatened to back out of an agreement that allows Ukraine to export ag products through the Black Sea.

Greg McBride with Allendale says Russian officials are frustrated with the Black Sea Grain Initiative and are calling for it to expire.

“They are not getting their needs met,” McBride said. “They are not being able to ship fertilizer and they are not getting the ability to ship grain through the Black Sea the way they would like to.”

The agreement has been extended multiple times since it was first brokered in July 2022.

Ukrainian farmer Kees Huizinga tells Brownfield the export deal has helped producers manage grain storage concerns.

“Luckily, we’ve managed to sell all of our stuff,” Huizinga said. “But every time this deal has to be prolonged, the Russians start to manipulate. They want to have something in return.”

McBride says there could be a food crisis if the agreement is disrupted.

“This is a conversation that comes up every three-to-six months with this grain deal,” McBride said. “Now that we are on this shorter time frame, it’s starting to feel like it’s a bigger deal.”

The deal expires in mid-July.

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