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USDA Announces New Fertilizer Grants
By Russ Quinn
Friday, May 24, 2024 9:55AM CDT

OMAHA (DTN) –- USDA continues to invest in domestic fertilizer projects. In a recent round of grants, USDA is awarding $83 million to companies in 12 states for projects through the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program (FPEP), according to a USDA press release from Thursday. (See https://www.usda.gov/…)

The program provides grants to independent business owners to help them modernize equipment, adopt new technologies and build production plants. These investments will boost domestic fertilizer production, strengthen competition and lower costs for U.S. farmers, according to USDA.

Facilities receiving funding in this round were in California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. To date, USDA has invested $251 million in 57 projects across 29 states through FPEP.

A closer look at the businesses receiving grants shows a wide range of grant amounts.

The highest amount went to 4420 Serrano Drive LLC located in Jurupa Valley, California, which got just over $25 million in grants.

This company uses insects to recycle food waste into an organic nutrient fertilizer. The money will help build a facility that is expected to produce 11,400 tons annually which will provide a domestic fertilizer option for approximately 90 producers within the region, according to USDA.

The least amount of grant money awarded this time was just under $1.5 million to the Ray Farmers Union Elevator Company located in Ray, North Dakota. The grant will help the business increase dry fertilizer capacity by 7,025 tons to a total of 11,425 tons. The money will also improve the company's fertilizer supply logistics, according to USDA.

"The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA are committed to bolstering the economy and increasing competition for our nation's farmers, ranchers and small business owners," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the release. "The investments announced today, made possible through the Commodity Credit Corporation, will increase domestic fertilizer production and strengthen our supply chain, all while creating good-paying jobs that will benefit everyone."

Despite USDA's claims of improving the U.S. domestic fertilizer supply, there are some questions about how much this program increases the supply.

DTN wrote about this in March 2023, and took a closer look at some projects announced at that time (https://www.dtnpf.com/…). The eight USDA grants announced up until then would lead to the expansion of fertilizer production by just 406,400 tons per year, or just 0.02% of the 21 million tons produced in the U.S. in 2020.

A summary of the projects in the most recent round of grants announced by USDA on Thursday is available here: https://www.rd.usda.gov/….

Russ Quinn can be reached at Russ.Quinn@dtn.com

Follow him on social platform X @RussQuinnDTN


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