Short of Hannah Montana tickets, potash has to be the year's hottest item.

Agrium (NYSE: AGU) and the other two members of the Saskatchewan-based Canpotex alliance recently increased prices for export to Brazil and Southeast Asia to $750 per tonne, including shipping. Belarusian Potash, another powerhouse producer, just announced that it's ratcheting up to $1,000/tonne beginning in the third quarter. Clearly, global demand for the fertilizer is feverish, and the only cure is more potash.

Into this manic milieu steps U.S. producer Intrepid Potash (NYSE: IPI). Yesterday's initial public offering pounded higher, ending the day nearly 60% above the firm's $32 pricing. Now that we've had a moment to catch our breath, let's take a look at the potash pusher's prospects.

As an oil and gas guy, two things immediately grabbed my attention about Intrepid. First, agriculture accounted for only 64% of potash sales last year. A major additional market is oil and gas drilling. No, Halliburton's (NYSE: HAL) not growing potatoes in the oil patch. Caustic potash is an ingredient of drilling fluids that are pumped down the wellbore. You can view this usage as providing some nice end-market diversification, or, looking at BJ Services' (NYSE: BJS) latest results, you can freak out. I tend to advise against the latter.

The other interesting thing is that Intrepid adopted horizontal drilling technology from the energy industry to enhance production at its first mine, a formerly flagging Utah-based operation scooped up from Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT). Intrepid describes itself as "entrepreneurial," and I think this early innovation substantiates that claim.

In addition to potash, Intrepid mines something called langbeinite at its Carlsbad, N.M., mine. Mosaic (NYSE: MOS), which completes the Canpotex triumvirate, is the world's only other producer. The mineral has some attractive properties for growing crops like tobacco, but I wouldn't get too fixated on the stuff. There's a limited market due to the sole-source supply, and Intrepid consistently makes a better gross margin on its potash, anyway.

Finally, I can't part without a word on valuation. This isn't going to be much of a surprise, but you've got to leave this one to the momentum crowd, Fools. I have no doubt that this company is going to kick butt for years -- but I'd argue that that is all priced into the stock today. Stay away, and in exchange, I'll try to find you a stealthier ag play.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a green thumb or a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.