USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency is taking steps to fight the high cost of fertilizer for American farmers. USDA is making $500 million in grants available to increase American-made fertilizer production to spur competition and combat those higher prices.
“We want it, first and foremost, to be utilized by independent operations. Those are outside the dominant fertilizer companies, so that creates competition and an opportunity for new players if you will. We wanted to be focused on made in America. We want to invest in innovation. We want to make sure that whatever is going into the development as fertilizer is produced sustainably, in terms of the production process or the transportation process, or the feedstock that is used. And we hope that it’s farm focused.”
The Secretary talks about how the agency is structuring the grant program.
“Essentially, we’re going to have two grant application processes. The awards under this program can be anywhere from a million dollars up to $100 million. They can span projects that will take the next three-to-five years. The first application window after it’s filed will be a 45-day application window, and that application window will be for applications designed to make the case they are ready, willing, and able, with additional resources, to provide assistance and relief to farmers in terms of access to fertilizer in crop year 2023 and crop year 2024.”
The second application window will be 90 days and designed for projects that will take longer to complete. He says the funding is available for a wide variety of groups and organizations.
“Who can apply? Well, it’s pretty broad. For-profit companies can apply, nonprofits can apply, tribes and tribal organizations can apply, producer-owned co-ops can apply, and certified benefit corporations and state and local government agencies can apply. Information about the grants will be on the website at http://www.grants.gov.”