Agencies Team on Next-Gen Fertilizer Competition
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have launched the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges, a joint project designed to identify and accelerate the development of next-gen, sustainable fertilizer technologies. The first two challenges are seeking proposals for new and existing fertilizer technologies that maintain or improve crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizers on the environment.
Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers facilitate the growth of crops, including corn, at yields that provide sustained global food production. However, fertilizers applied without consideration of the appropriate rate, timing, source, and method, can have harmful effects on the environment and human health. “Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer” (EEF) is a term for new formulations that control fertilizer release or alter reactions that reduce nutrient losses to the environment.
The first challenge, the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge, aims to identify existing EEFs that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria. This challenge will not have a monetary prize, but winners will receive scientific evaluation of their product and recognition from EPA, USDA, and other collaborators and participants.
The second challenge is called the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge. The goal is to come up with new concepts for novel technologies that can help address environmental concerns surrounding agriculture practices while maintaining or increasing crop yields. A panel of expert judges will review the submissions. Each winner will receive at least $10,000.
Along with EPA and USDA, the competition is coordinated with The Fertilizer Institute, the International Fertilizer Development Center, the National Corn Growers Association, and The Nature Conservancy. NCGA President Kevin Ross said corn farmers are committed to sustainability and saw this as a great opportunity to partner with USDA and EPA to bring new technologies to the farm. “Farming better is a journey, not a destination,” Ross said, adding that the mission of maintaining yields without driving costs for farmers is important, and he feels confident in the success of the program.
The competition opened on August 26, 2020, with all entries due by October 30, 2020, for the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge and by November 30, 2020, for the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge. Winners will be announced in the winter of 2021. An informational webinar will be held on September 24, 2020 at 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. ET. More information is available HERE. (Sources: EPA, Feedstuffs)