The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be supporting domestic fertilizer production this summer through a new grant program. A total of $250 million in grants will be made available through the program. The goal is to increase the domestic supply of fertilizer products to address supply issues and increasing costs. Farmers have been dealing with higher fertilizer costs in recent months, caused by a multitude of factors including production costs, global demand, and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“The planned investment 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,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “We are working to rebuild the economy towards resilience, security, and sustainability, and this support to provide domestic, sustainable and independent choices for fertilizer supplies is part of that effort.”
The new grant program is intended to support fertilizer production considered independent, sustainable, innovative, and farmer-focused. Increasing domestic production and competition in the market will help to reduce the reliance on foreign supplies, which have shown to be inconsistent. Additionally, increasing U.S. fertilizer production has the capacity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation and production methods.
Support for the program will come from the Commodity Credit Corporation. Funding was set aside to address market disruptions through the development of new domestic production programs. Details about the application process will be announced in the coming months with the first awards expected to be issued by the end of the year.
As part of the effort, USDA will also be seeking public input on agricultural inputs, seeds, and retail markets. The inquiry is part of the overall effort to address issues of competition within the agricultural supply chain. More information on the request for information will be made available through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service once published in the Federal Register.