WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that $500 million in grants have been made available to increase domestic fertilizer production through the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program.
The goal of the program is to promote competition in agricultural markets with the funds being made available through the Commodity Credit Corporation.
“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 USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“Recent supply chain disruptions have shown just how critical it is to invest in the agricultural supply chain here at home. The Fertilizer Production Expansion Program 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.”
The program will support fertilizer production that is:
• 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 United States or its territories to create good-paying jobs at home and reduce the reliance on potentially unstable, inconsistent foreign supplies.
• Innovative. Techniques will improve fertilizer production methods and efficient-use technologies to jumpstart the next generation of fertilizers and nutrient alternatives.
• Sustainable. Ideally, products will reduce the greenhouse gas impact of transportation, production and use through renewable energy sources, feedstocks and formulations, incentivizing greater precision in fertilizer use.
• Farmer-focused. Like other Commodity Credit Corporation investments, a driving factor is providing support and opportunities for U.S. agricultural commodity producers.
Eligible entities are for‐profit businesses and corporations, nonprofit entities, Tribes and Tribal organizations, producer‐owned cooperatives and corporations, certified benefit corporations and state or local governments. Private entities must be independently owned and operated to apply.
The maximum award is $100 million. The minimum award is $1 million. The grant term is five years.
USDA will begin accepting applications in the coming days via www.grants.gov. Notably, there will be two opportunities for submission.
The department plans for a 45-day application window for applicants to receive priority for projects that increase the availability of fertilizer — nitrogen, phosphate or potash — and nutrient alternatives for agricultural producers to use in crop years 2023 or 2024.
USDA also will offer an extended application window, providing an additional 45 days — 90-day application window — to receive applications for financial assistance to significantly increase American-made fertilizer production to spur competition and combat price hikes. This extended application window will support applicants who need more time to make additional capacity available.