The Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On USDA’s Fertilizer Innovation Initiative

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Two out of every five people alive today owe their lives to the use of fertilizer and TFI welcomes initiatives to strengthen domestic fertilizer production, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) $250 million grant program to support the development and production of innovative fertilizers.

Innovation has been the hallmark of the fertilizer industry. Enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) and other new technologies play a big role in our ability to feed a growing population efficiently and sustainably. While new products are the focus of today’s announcement, it’s important to recognize the innovative work undertaken by companies in the U.S. market, who have made a strong comeback from the days of high natural gas prices to leverage the shale gas revolution.

We have a more robust U.S. fertilizer industry than we have seen in two decades. By enacting policies that encourage safe, abundant, and affordable supplies of natural gas, which is the chief feedstock for nitrogen production, ensuring that permitting of production plants is streamlined and adding phosphate and potash to the Department of the Interior’s Critical Minerals list, policymakers can also support this vital industry.

The fertilizer industry’s investment in innovation has been longstanding. Most recently, TFI partnered with USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other key stakeholders on the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges. Collectively, the challenges aim to accelerate the development of innovative fertilizer product technologies and to increase the use of existing EEFs that maintain or increase crop yields and reduce environmental impacts to air, land, and water.

Additionally, we look forward to providing USDA with data for its RFI. Fertilizer is resource dependent, capital intensive, and requires high-skilled labor and expertise to safely produce, handle, transport, and store. Ninety percent of all fertilizer in the world is used outside the United States, which means that globally supply and demand dynamics are critical factors in the price and availability of fertilizers. Still, when compared to peer sectors around the world, the U.S. fertilizer industry is among the most competitive and environmentally advanced.