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White House Bets $500 Million That US Can Invent Better Ag Fertilizers

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The Biden administration wants to cut US reliance on foreign-made farm fertilizers. (Shutterstock)
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The Biden administration is betting $500 million that American researchers and manufacturers can come up with better fertilizers.

Grants will be used to support independent, innovative, and sustainable American fertilizer production to supply American farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a news release on Tuesday.

Funds also will expand the manufacturing and processing of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives in the U.S. and its territories.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the $500 million in grants are intended to increase American-made fertilizers — thus spurring competition — and combat price hikes caused by the Ukraine war.

“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,” said Vilsack. “Recent supply chain disruptions have shown just how critical it is to invest in the agricultural supply chain here at home.”

Grant Guidelines

The program supports fertilizer production under these guidelines:

  • Independent, and outside the orbit of dominant fertilizer suppliers. Because the program’s goal is to increase competition, market share restrictions apply.
  • Made in America. Products must be produced by companies operating in the U.S. or its territories, to create good-paying jobs at home, and reduce the reliance on potentially unstable, inconsistent foreign supplies.
  • Techniques will improve fertilizer production methods and efficient-use technologies to jumpstart the next generation of fertilizers and nutrient alternatives.
  • Ideally, products will reduce the greenhouse gas impact of transportation, production, and use through renewable energy sources, feedstocks, and formulations, and promote greater precision in fertilizer use.
  • Farmer-focused. A driving factor is providing support and opportunities for U.S. agricultural commodity producers.

Additional Information

The maximum award is $100 million; the minimum is $1 million. The grant term is five years.

Potential applicants and stakeholders may email questions to fpep@usda.gov.

More information is available at www.rd.usda.gov/fpep or www.farmers.gov/global-food-insecurity.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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