TFI Releases Latest Report on Fertilizer Industry Sustainability

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today released new data highlighting industry improvement in sustainability performance in key priority areas of workforce safety, energy and the environment, fertilizer use, and industry innovation.

“The over 100,000 employees of the fertilizer industry work each day to produce and supply fertilizer to farmers in an effort to feed the world,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “To feed a global population of 1 billion people by 2050, fertilizer is playing a critical role in increasing both food production and land use efficiency sustainability in agriculture.”

TFI has collected data since 2013 on metrics that provide insight into the industry’s efforts to improve safety, security, sustainability, environmental stewardship, and efficiency. The data announced today was gathered in 2023 and reflects industry operations in 2022.

“The industry is continuously working towards more sustainable operations, including efforts to decarbonize and mitigate environmental impacts,” Rosenbusch continued. “Each step of the supply chain is focused on doing more with fewer resources while limiting impacts on communities and the environment. The data in this report highlights the achievements we’ve made in worker safety, energy, and environmental metrics.”

Report highlights include:

  • Participating members reported a total of 25 zero-discharge facilities, at which all wastewater is recycled. 
  • When compared to the Department of Labor’s data for similar companies in wholesale, mining, and manufacturing, our members outperform the industry benchmarks in every category. 
  • Farmers in the US have a nitrogen use efficiency of 70%, which is much higher in comparison to the world average of 55%. The 2023 4R Advocates had an average of 100% nitrogen use efficiency.
  • TFI members are working towards decarbonizing manufacturing sites, including boosting energy efficiency, carbon capture and sequestration, investing in electrolysis technologies, and more. Low carbon ammonia technologies can increase the sustainability of fertilizers while ensuring agricultural productivity. TFI is developing a protocol to define carbon intensity for ammonia production in North America.

The data includes metrics on segments of the fertilizer industry from fertilizer use on the farm, worker safety, energy and environment, and industry innovation. To learn more about this year’s report, click here.

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First Biostimulant Certified Under TFI Program

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced today that its newly launched Certified Biostimulant program has awarded the first certification for a biostimulant product.

“We are pleased to announce that AgroLiquid’s C-Tech biostimulant product has gone through the necessary steps to be recognized as a Certified Biostimulant by TFI,” said TFI president and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “Upon thorough review of their data, research, and methodology, we have confirmed their adherence to industry-established standards, ensuring that among other criteria, proper experimental protocols were followed during efficacy testing.”

TFI’s Certified Biostimulant initiative aligns with the United States Biostimulant Industry Guidelines, which set forth criteria for comprehensive documentation supporting efficacy testing methods, composition, and safety measures. Upon certification, a product is granted a distinctive label, signifying to agricultural retailers and consumers that it has undergone the necessary steps to meet the outlined standards in the guidelines.

“Biostimulants are a relatively new innovation in agriculture that have tremendous potential to enhance the existing environmental stewardship of growers and compliment 4R fertilizer practices,” Rosenbusch explained. “But in countless conversations with ag retailers, what kept coming up was the lack of a standard when assessing the new products and deciding which products to stock and recommend to their grower customers. The Certified Biostimulant program was created to provide that standard because we want to get them into the hands of more growers, and we want both the ag retailers and growers to have confidence when choosing which product they use.”

Plant biostimulants can potentially play a crucial role in sustainable agriculture by promoting nutrient uptake, stress tolerance, and overall plant vigor. Biostimulants have also been proven to provide such environmental benefits such as enhanced carbon sequestration and reduced nutrient leaching to ground and surface water.

“When we talk nutrient management, we are talking about minimizing losses to the environment, water quality, air quality, soil health, and all the other things important to the conservation and environmental communities. Biostimulants support environmental stewardship by improving the efficiencies of fertilizer application and soil health while also increasing crop yields,” Rosenbusch concluded. “We are proud to bring consumer confidence to the marketplace through our certification program and look forward to certifying more biostimulant products in the future that help to ensure our dinner tables are full and the environment is being protected.”

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.

TFI: Phosphate and Potash are Critical Minerals, Senate Bill to Solidify

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today praised the U.S. Senate for introducing bipartisan legislation to include phosphate and potash on the final list of critical minerals of the Department of the Interior. Introduced by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Thom Tills (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and Rick Scott (R-FL), the legislation will recognize the importance of ensuring a strong and sustainable domestic fertilizer supply for American farmers.

“We thank Senators Brown, Tillis, Baldwin, Marshall, Ricketts, and Scott for coming together and introducing this important legislation,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “The majority of the world’s phosphate and potash resources are concentrated in only a few countries, leaving them open to supply chain vulnerabilities and geopolitical instability. The events of the past few years have shown us that food security is national security and now is the time to change how we talk about these vital resources.”

The United States imports roughly 95% of its potash needs, the bulk of which come from Canada. Only 14 countries in the world produce potash, with Belarus and Russia comprising nearly 40% of global production. Regarding phosphate, China accounts for over 40% of global production.

“It is vital that we, as a country, take proactive steps to secure our own agricultural future by recognizing the role these minerals play in putting food on our tables,” Rosenbusch continued. “Without these two minerals, modern agricultural systems would crumble and the ability to feed our growing population would be nearly impossible.”

The U.S. has both phosphate and potash production, but expanding mines and opening new ones is a costly and time-consuming process measured in years and in the tens of millions of dollars for permitting alone. Being listed as critical minerals would not exclude these projects from environmental reviews, but would assign a single permitting agency to be responsible and streamline the process.

“By adding phosphate and potash to the Critical Minerals list, we can take a significant stride towards securing our own future and sending the clear message that safeguarding our nation’s food supply is not only an economic imperative, but a strategic priority that ensures our well-being,” Rosenbusch concluded. “We look forward to working with Congress to support this vital legislation.”

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FERT Foundation’s Ford West Leadership Academy Delivers First Class Results

More than 40 emerging leaders from across the fertilizer industry participated in the first annual Ford West Leadership Academy this week in Houston, Texas. The highly interactive industry-specific curriculum for this first cohort featured expert-led sessions on Advocacy, Sales and Business Development, Agronomy and Stewardship, The Essentials of Finance, Crisis Management, Safety and Security, Fertilizer 101 and the History and Future of the Fertilizer Industry. After conclusion of the classroom portion, participants also had an opportunity to tour American Plant Food’s Houston facilities.

“Eighty two percent of all respondents to TFI’s recent Industry Trends Survey cited recruitment and retention of skilled staff as a top tier concern,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “The Ford West Leadership Academy tackles that issue head-on by exposing high-potential industry employees to all facets of the fertilizer supply chain and growing their technical and soft skills. By engaging established industry professionals as session facilitators, we’re ensuring the transfer of industry knowledge from current leaders to future leaders and equip participants with essential tools for professional success.”

This prestigious program which is open to individuals who have been nominated by their company’s leadership is named in honor of Ford West, former CEO & President of TFI, whose unwavering dedication and profound commitment to our industry set a shining example of servant leadership.

Ford’s passion for the fertilizer industry and commitment to opening doors for future generations was legendary,” said Harriet Wegmeyer, Executive Director of the FERT Foundation. “There is no better professional legacy for him than this Academy.”

The FERT Foundation would like to thank members of the Ford West Leadership Academy Steering Committee who expertly directed development of the content and curriculum of the Academy. The steering committee is comprised of a cross-section of companies and individuals with varying skills and experience in the fertilizer supply chain. Inaugural steering committee members are as follows: 

Roger Baker, CHS 
Paul Barr, Winfield United 
Marcie Booth, Koch 
Matt Brown, Landus 
Kim Colvin, Quad Chemical 
Mindy Dale, The Mosaic Company 
John Fowler, Nutrien 
Bert Frost, CF Industries 
Premjit Halarnkar, CH Biotech 
Mary Hartney, FFAA 
Kala Killworth, Simplot 
Josh Long, American Plant Food Corporation 
Tim Mahoney, IRM 
Sean McCarty, Helena Agribusiness 
Lisa Nguyen, TKI 
Jacob Schreve, Helm 
Sarah Terrell, Trammo 
Jacob Winans, Brandt 
Courtney Yuskis, Yara 

We would also like to thank our session facilitators and panelists who shared their expertise and perspectives with our participants:  

Session:                                                                    Facilitator:

Discover Your Strengths                                       Kala Killworth, Simplot

Fertilizer 101                                                          Taylor Pursell, Pursell Agri-tech

Major Events in the Fertilizer Industry                Karl Barnhart, Brandt

Advocacy                                                                Cameron Bishop, Simplot

Finance                                                                   Rowdy Smith, United Services

Crisis Management & Safety                               Todd Stuart, Koch

Agronomy                                                               Trey Cutts, Yara

Management & Coaching                                    Lisa Nguyen, TKI

 

Sales and Business Development Panel 

Moderator Sarah Terrell, Trammo, Panelists: Mike Hamilton, AdvanSix; Scott Lee, Sabic; and Kelly Davey, Nutrien

 

Future of the Fertilizer Industry Panel

 Moderator Bert Frost, CF Industries

Panelists: Toby Hlavinka, American Plant Food; Russell Sides, TKI; and Greg Griffin, Wilbur Ellis.

 

Plant Tour Josh Long, American Plant Food

The Ford West Leadership Academy will bring back this year’s cohort for completion of the program and begin with a new cohort in 2025 at a date and location to be announced shortly.

TFI Opens Nominations for 2024 4R Advocate Program

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the FERT Foundation today announced the opening of nominations for the 2024 4R Advocates. These distinguished farmers and retailers are committed to implementing advanced fertilizer best management practices that incorporate the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship while demonstrating remarkable economic and environmental benefits. 

“Embracing the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship isn’t just a commitment for the fertilizer industry; it’s a meaningful step towards helping countless American farmers enhance both their profitability and the health of the land,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “We take pride in the dedication of our industry’s retailers, who work hand-in-hand with farmers to put these practices into action in the field.”

Since 2012, the 4R Advocate program has recognized and celebrated the accomplishments of farmers and retailers collectively farming nearly 300,000 acres across a range of cropping systems in 25 states. 4R Advocates actively engage in TFI’s outreach efforts to promote responsible fertilizer management practices throughout the year. They do so by hosting farm field days, participating in conference panels, and sharing their insights and experiences with fellow farmers, thereby advancing the adoption of 4R principles within the farming community. 

“Now in its 13th year, the 4R Advocate program continues to highlight in-field successes achieved through applying 4R practices based on the principles of the right source, rate, time, and fertilizer placement,” continued Rosenbusch. “The 4R Nutrient Stewardship framework provides a comprehensive roadmap for achieving on-farm goals, including increased production and profitability, enhanced environmental protection, and improved sustainability. We believe that 4R Advocates pave the way for a more resilient and environmentally responsible future in agriculture.” 

To learn more about the 2024 4R Advocate program and submit nominations, please visit the 4R Advocate Nomination page on the TFI website, or contact TFI Director of Retail & Field Sustainability Peyton Harper

 

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.

TFI Celebrates Positive Hypoxia Task Force Report, Proof Conservation Efforts are Working

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today celebrated the November 30th release of the Hypoxia Task Force’s 2023 Report to Congress, highlighting the significant progress made toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action plan of 2008.

“This report is fantastic news, plain and simple,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “We still have work to do and goals to meet, but this fourth report to Congress from the Hypoxia Task Force shows that we are making significant progress in lowering nutrient loses to the marine environment.”

Of specific note is the decline in nitrogen loads by 20%, a goal not anticipated to be achieved until 2025. 

“TFI has long advocated for grower adoption of nutrient stewardship practices such as the 4Rs because they work,” Rosenbusch continued. “These practices keep fertilizers on fields where they belong and out of our nation’s waterways where they do not. This report is proof that science- and industry-backed conservation practices being voluntarily adopted by farmers and ranchers are having a tremendous impact on our nation’s water quality and should be lauded for their continued efforts to grow more food with less environmental impact.”

TFI will use the report to continue educating growers and policymakers about the benefits of implementing nutrient stewardship practices, saying that smart application drives better yields, which in turn promote greater individual and collective health, wealth, and well-being.

“Food security is national security, but we also have to be good stewards of the land and our shared resources,” Rosenbusch concluded. “We are on the right path and this report shows it. TFI looks forward to continuing to work with the Hypoxia Task Force and its partners in educating growers about the benefits of nutrient stewardship, to those growers in the nearly 1-billion-acre watershed of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and beyond.”

Formed in 2017, the Hypoxia Task Force is comprised of 5 federal agencies, 12 states bordering the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and the National Tribal Water Council.

 

 

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.

TFI Supports Amendment to Block EPA’s Harmful Proposed Rule on Air Quality Standards

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today reiterated its opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to tighten national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and voiced support for legislation to prohibit the EPA altering the standard at this time.

“TFI and the fertilizer industry remain firmly opposed to EPA’s proposed rule to lower the threshold standards for fine particulate matter,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “And we aren’t alone. TFI joined over 70 other industry groups in a letter articulating the devastating economic impact this rule would have, as well as the faulty reasoning behind the change.”

According to the government’s own data, PM2.5 emissions have declined by over 40% over the past twenty years, and they continue to go down. Additionally, the current rule balances environmental protection with robust commercial and industrial activity.

“Only two years ago the EPA confirmed that the current standard is protective of public health and the environment,” Rosenbusch continued. “They have not provided any reasoning as to what has changed in the past two years aside from the fact that these emissions continue to decline.”

The current PM NAAQS was set in 2012 under the Obama Administration and has dramatically reduced air pollution across the county. The biggest hurdle a lowered standard would create for industry is that as NAAQS levels have continued to be lowered, and industry continues to adapt through technology and innovation, there becomes a point where further air quality controls will not be able to achieve the reductions of a lowered NAAQS. Implementing these lower thresholds for attainment will have the unintended consequence of reducing domestic fertilizer production if attainment in the U.S. becomes overly burdensome.

“The need to strengthen the domestic fertilizer industry has been made clear by multiple global crises and echoed by the Biden Administration, now is not the time to hamstring fertilizer production by making new production facilities or the expansion of existing production more difficult or, in many instances, impossible,” Rosenbusch concluded. “The fertilizer industry prides itself on innovation and sustainability and environmental stewardship is a cornerstone of how our industry operates, from production to farmer use. TFI does not support lowering NAAQS levels and instead believes that the EPA should retain the current PM NAAQS.”

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.

TFI Welcomes STB’s Proposed Rule on Reciprocal Switching

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch today praised the unanimous decision by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on providing rail customers access to reciprocal switching as a remedy for poor rail service.

“TFI has long advocated for reforms such as reciprocal switching to promote competition and enhance rail service. Market-based incentives will encourage rail carriers to be more customer-oriented,” Rosenbusch said. “The unanimous, bipartisan vote is a clear acknowledgement by the STB that these challenges must be addressed.”  

The proposal from the STB would provide a streamlined path for rail customers to obtain a reciprocal switching order by including specific, objective, and measurable criteria for determining if they are eligible. That criterion includes measures of service reliability, service consistency, and adequacy of local service. The proposal would also standardize these three service metrics across all Class 1 carriers for the first time.

“Over 60% of fertilizer moves by rail and is therefore critical to the on-time delivery of fertilizer to farmers exactly where and when they need it,” concluded Rosenbusch. “We thank Chairman Oberman and all of the Board Members for their efforts to improve rail service. TFI looks forward to participating in the comment process and enactment of this important reform.”

 

 

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.

TFI Welcomes STB’s Proposed Rule on Reciprocal Switching

Arlington, VA – The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch today praised the unanimous decision by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on providing rail customers access to reciprocal switching as a remedy for poor rail service.

“TFI has long advocated for reforms such as reciprocal switching to promote competition and enhance rail service. Market-based incentives will encourage rail carriers to be more customer-oriented,” Rosenbusch said. “The unanimous, bipartisan vote is a clear acknowledgement by the STB that these challenges must be addressed.”  

The proposal from the STB would provide a streamlined path for rail customers to obtain a reciprocal switching order by including specific, objective, and measurable criteria for determining if they are eligible. That criterion includes measures of service reliability, service consistency, and adequacy of local service. The proposal would also standardize these three service metrics across all Class 1 carriers for the first time.

“Over 60% of fertilizer moves by rail and is therefore critical to the on-time delivery of fertilizer to farmers exactly where and when they need it,” concluded Rosenbusch. “We thank Chairman Oberman and all of the Board Members for their efforts to improve rail service. TFI looks forward to participating in the comment process and enactment of this important reform.”

 

 

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The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is the leading voice of the nation’s fertilizer industry. Tracing its roots back to 1883, TFI’s membership includes fertilizer producers, wholesalers, retailers and trading firms. TFI’s full-time staff, based in Washington, D.C., serves its members through legislative, educational, technical, economic information and public communication programs. Find more information about TFI online at TFI.org and follow us on Twitter at @Fertilizer_Inst. Learn more about TFI’s nutrient stewardship initiatives at nutrientstewardship.org and on Twitter at @4rnutrients.

New Fertilizer Industry Foundation is Formed

 

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) today announced the consolidation of industry-supported organizations into the FERT Foundation, which will be dedicated to ensuring that education, research and training is conducted under a single umbrella. The new foundation will bring the work of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation (FFF), Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR), and Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFLF) together and ensure that the industry’s resources are used for maximum impact.

The three pillars of new FERT Foundation are fertilizer education, research, and training. Fertilizer education will continue under the Nutrients for Life program name. Training will operate under the Ford West Leadership Academy. Research will combine priorities of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation and the Foundation for Agronomic Research. The new Foundation will be a separate 501(c)3 organization, and will be a private foundation, serving the needs of the fertilizer industry. TFI members will direct its activity.

Goals of the FERT Foundation include:

  • Building greater understanding of the tremendous benefits afforded by using fertilizers, including an understanding of the industry’s commitment to sustainability.
  • Developing easily digestible research summaries for dissemination to retail agronomists.  
  • Building a body of research that is being used in education and with regulatory agencies.
  • Spearheading a leadership program designed specifically for fertilizer industry members.
  • Fostering and promoting careers in nutrient science and education – including 4R Nutrient Stewardship to a diverse audience of learners and educators.

 The first annual Ford West Leadership Academy will be held January 15-18, 2024, in Houston, Texas. Further details, including a preliminary schedule and registration information are available here.

“The aim of the FERT Foundation is a world in which fertilizers are understood and appreciated, scientific research supports advocacy for sustainable fertilizer use, and an engaged, informed and diverse workforce serves a thriving industry,” said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “By leveraging economies of scale and more closely aligning objectives, these organizations will better serve the industry than could the existing patchwork of stand-alone organizations.”

Further information on the FERT Foundation is available here.