NCGA to support EPA and USDA on future fertilizer strategies


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the USDA announced the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges, a joint partnership to advance agricultural sustainability in the United States. The partnership includes two main challenges that seek proposals for new and existing fertilizer technologies to improve or maintain crop yields while reducing the impacts of the fertilizers on the environment.

The effort is coordinated with the National Corn Growers Association, The Fertilizer Institute, the Fertilizer Development Center, and the Nature Conservancy.

“This is a great opportunity to partner with USDA and EPA in developing new technologies that will help farmers advance their sustainability efforts,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA president. “Corn farmers are committed to sustainability and have made major improvements in recent years related to fertilizer use and nutrient management, but farming better is a journey, not a destination. We are always looking for ways to make our family businesses successful and do so with an eye toward healthier soil and cleaner water.”

The first challenge, the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge, aims to identify existing Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs) that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria. EEF is a term for new formulations that control fertilizer release or alter reactions that reduce nutrient losses to the environment. This challenge will not have a monetary prize, but winners will receive a scientific evaluation of their product and recognition from EPA, USDA, and other collaborators and participants.

The second challenge, the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge, aims to generate new concepts for novel technologies that can help address environmental concerns surrounding agriculture practices while maintaining or increasing crop yields. A panel of expert judges will review the submissions. Each winner will receive at least $10,000.