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.”
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.
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 email@example.com.