USDA announces $500m in grants to increase American made fertilizer production
HOUSTON (ICIS)–The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the federal government is making $500m in grants available to increase American made fertilizer production to spur competition and combat price hikes caused by the Ukraine conflict.
The funding will come from the Commodity Credit Corporation under the Fertilizer Production Expansion program, which was first announced this past March when US growers were reeling from higher crop nutrient costs just as the key crop regions were starting to plant the 2022 acreage.
The USDA said the programme will support fertilizer production that has several key criteria including that it must be independent, and outside the orbit of dominant fertilizer suppliers with market share restrictions apply.
It must be produced by companies operating in the US, or its territories, to create good-paying jobs at home, and reduce the reliance on potentially unstable, inconsistent foreign supplies.
The agency said it must be innovative and offer techniques to improve fertilizer production methods and efficient use to jumpstart the next generation of crop inputs.
This new production needs to be sustainable, with a goal of reducing greenhouse gas impacts and it must be farmer-focused in providing support and opportunities for agricultural producers.
The maximum award is $100m with the minimum award $1m with the grant term for five years. The USDA said it will begin accepting applications in the coming days with two opportunities for submission.
There will be a 45-day application window for applicants to receive priority for projects that increase the availability of fertilizer, specifically nitrogen, phosphate or potash, and nutrient alternatives for use in crop years 2023 or 2024.
The agency will also offer an extended application window, providing an additional 45 days to receive applications for financial assistance to significantly increase American-made production.
This extended application window will support applicants who need more time to make additional capacity available.
“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,” said Tom Vilsack, US Agriculture Secretary.
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