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Increasing domestic fertilizer production in the U.S.

Increasing domestic fertilizer production in the U.S.

$500 million in grants is available to support innovation

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. government is earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars to increase innovation in domestic fertilizer production.

The Biden-Harris Administration is offering $500 million in grants to increase domestic fertilizer production and bring the costs of fertilizers down for farmers.

Called the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program, interested applicants can begin applying on Sept. 30.

Grants will be issued over five-year terms. The minimum amount an applicant can receive is $1 million with the maximum set at $100 million.

“USDA believes in the growth of innovative, local businesses owned and shared by people who can best serve their own unique community’s needs, fill gaps, and build opportunities. Recent supply chain disruptions have shown just how critical it is to invest in the agricultural supply chain here at home,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

Fertilizer costs have been on the rise in recent years with Russia’s war in Ukraine resulting in further price increases.

Anhydrous ammonia prices in Illinois, for example, were around $400 per ton in September 2020. On Sept. 22, 2022, the price reached $1,319 per ton. That represents an increase of 229 percent in about two years.

The U.S. fertilizer industry welcomed the grant announcement.

All entities in fertilizer production can use this funding to increase domestic production and lower input costs for farmers, said Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute.

“The U.S. fertilizer industry consists of large international corporations, small regional producers, and everything in between,” he said in a statement. “They all play a critical role in suppling farmers with the nutrients required to grow the food that feeds the world. While a nitrogen plant can cost between $2-$4 billion to construct, anything that helps strengthen domestic fertilizer production is a win for the industry, growers, and consumers.”

USDA will be hosting two webinars for applicants and others interested in learning about the program.

One is on Oct. 4, the other is Oct. 6. Registration is required to attend.

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