AYA BATRAWY, STEVE KARNOWSKI and ROB GILLIES. AP. Russia's war in the Ukraine could mean changes for Ed Kessel's farm in a quiet stretch of western North Dakota. Around the world, farmers like Kessel are weighing whether to change their planting patterns and grow more wheat this spring, as war has stifled or called into question grain supplies from a region known as "the breadbasket of the world."
Ukraine and Russia account for a third of world exports of wheat and barley, on which countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa depend to feed millions of people who subsist on subsidized bread and cheap noodles. They are also the main exporters of other cereals and sunflower seed oil that is used for cooking and food processing. Kessel said he could plant some more wheat and ride the tide of high prices that have soared by a third since the invasion, helping offset losses from drought and rising fuel costs, but not much else. "We'll probably be able to plant a few more acres of wheat and a few more acres of sunflowers," said Kessel, also first vice president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association. Major grain producers such as the United States, Canada, France, Australia and Argentina are being watched closely to see if they can quickly increase production to fill gaps in lost supplies from Ukraine and Russia. But farmers face the prospect of another year of drought, ...
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