In an effort to support the fertilizer industry, the USDA announced it was making $500 million in grants available to help the American fertilizer industry.
Key Qualifying Standards
Under the Commodity Credit Corporation via the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program, first announced in March of 2022, fertilizers that comply with the following are eligible for program support:
- The fertilizer producer must be independent and not a dominant producer of fertilizer
- They must operate within the USA
- Their efforts must produce good-paying jobs in the USA
- Their efforts must use USA-produced fertilizer ingredients
Grant awards range from a minimum qualifying amount of $1 million for five years to a maximum award of $100 million.
Sustainable and Affordable
In addition to the above criteria, qualifying fertilizer producers must use largely-sustainable methods and strive to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gases, and they must be “farmer-focused.” Farmer focused means their mission statement must help independent American farmers secure fertilizer at a reasonable cost.
It also must be produced using renewable energy sources, feedstocks, and formulations. Those standards are aimed at increasing the efficiency and quality of fertilizer.
The fertilizer production program was first introduced when US growers struggled with skyrocketing production costs due to higher inflation, energy costs, and the conflict in Ukraine. While geared towards helping farmers in the spring of 2022, its impact will be longer than the 2022 growing cycle, primarily because all three influences still exist.
According to US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the program supports the aims of the Biden-Harris Administration to create a “resilient, secure and sustainable economy” while providing “domestic, independent choices” for fertilizer suppliers.
Vilsack further said, “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.
The Fertilizer Production Expansion Program is one example of many Biden-Harris Administration initiatives to bring production and jobs back to the United States, promote competition and support American goods and services.”
Who Is Eligible
Any for-profit, business or corporation, nonprofits, tribes or tribal organizations, certified benefit corporations, state and local government agencies, and producer-owned cooperatives are eligible to receive grant funding under the fertilizer grant program. All private efforts must be independently owned and operated.
The Application Process
The USDA has plans for a 45-day application window. Applicants that submit a completed and eligible application in that timeframe will receive priority. In addition, the USDA plans on having an additional 45-day window to receive financial assistance that is first come, first served among eligible candidates.
The second window for applications aims to give companies that need time to expand capabilities to handle increased fertilizer production. Information on the application process, including how to apply, is available at the USDA.
Educational Webinars Planned
To support the program, the USDA has scheduled two webinars.