Fertilizer: It’s Not A World Away

As we move into the time when fall harvests become a topic of focus, all eyes are on the effects of the U.S. drought. USDA recently reported that this year’s drought is the most serious since 1988. As a frame of reference, nationwide losses from the U.S. drought of 1988 exceeded $40 billion, exceeding the losses caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Mississippi River floods of 1993 and the San Francisco earthquake in 1989.

Against the backdrop of the U.S.’ drought is what is reported to be a dramatic increase in world food prices that some experts believe will evolve into a “chronic food crisis,” which is likely to last for many years to come. With a growing population that is increasingly demanding an improved diet that includes meat and other proteins, the food supply will have to grow by 40% to 60% by 2050 if we want to feed all of the world’s people.

Global food demand is outstripping the world’s ability to produce food, which is leading to a dramatic increase in food prices. Today, world grain stocks are at record lows, with consumption exceeding production in consecutive years. If growers stopped growing food today, storage bins around the world would quickly be depleted.

Dealing With Limits

Our options for increasing food production are limited both by the supply of land and water. Either we must place more acres into cultivation, increase current yields or both. While available arable land is growing in areas of the world such as Brazil, it is shrinking in other regions such as China. In the U.S. alone, more than a million acres of agricultural land are lost to development or other uses each year.

Both here in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, fertilizer must be part of the solution. It is estimated that fertilizer alone is responsible for 50% of the world’s food production. Accomplishing this essential task of growing more on less land must be done with care for the environment. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Norman Borlaug: “This is a basic problem, to feed 6.6 billion people. Without chemical fertilizer, forget it. The game is over.”

This is not the fertilizer industry speaking, rather they are powerful words from a distinguished man who spent a lifetime working with farmers in developed countries to increase food production through modern agricultural practices.

Agricultural aid groups that are currently in operation recognize the value of fertilizer as well. The One Acre Fund is working in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi to put together a permanent, proven investment package for growers and their families, which doubles farm income by providing seeds and fertilizer, weekly farm education and market facilitation. Fertilizer use by growers is at the core of One Acre’s program.

Delegates at The Fertilizer Institute’s upcoming World Fertilizer Conference will hear first-hand from One Acre Fund Co-Founder Andrew Jung about the organization and its efforts to ensure that fertilizer is part of the path to farmer sustainability.

While global food production and agricultural aid may literally seem a world away from your work with your customers, you have an essential role to play. By its leadership, agriculture in the U.S. can set a living example for growers around the world. The principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship (use of the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place) are applicable at all levels of farming — from the sophisticated agriculture guided by precision practices to the most basic farming in less developed agriculture systems.

It is our hope that when the U.S.-based aid organizations that serve growers in the developing world see the environmental, economic and social value of 4R nutrient stewardship, they will work to implement this system as part of their own efforts.

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories

Iowa waterways
FertilizerDow AgroSciences Recognizes Ag Retailers’ Role in Protecting Iowa Water Quality
April 6, 2017
The state of Iowa and its agriculture community have worked for decades to preserve soil health, protect water quality and Read More
Yara West Sacramento Ribbon Cutting
Crop InputsYara West Sacramento Is Newest Addition
March 27, 2017
Yara’s West Sacramento Terminal was officially welcomed March 21 as the newest Yara North America facility in the U.S. While continually Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
Growing corn
Crop InputsLock Down Nitrogen For 2017 Profits
March 5, 2017
Managing nutrient programs to snuff out the three types of nitrogen loss — leaching, volatilization, and denitrification — is crucial Read More
Trending Articles
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Latest News
AGCO Ratliff featured
EquipmentAGCO Mourns Passing of Company Founder, Industry Vision…
April 25, 2017
AGCO Corp., a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, mourns the passing of founder and former President, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsINNVICTIS CROP CARE Introduces VANDAL MOC Soybean Herbi…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has announced the U.S. EPA registration for VANDAL MOC, a combination of sulfentrazone plus metolachlor. VANDAL Read More
Kochia
HerbicidesINNVICTIS CROP CARE Launches STAVE Post-Emerge Broadlea…
April 25, 2017
INNVICTIS CROP CARE, LLC has introduced STAVE as the newest addition to­ its expanding portfolio. STAVE will be a great Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationSonny Perdue Confirmed by Senate as Next Agriculture Se…
April 25, 2017
After months without a secretary of agriculture, the Senate voted Monday evening to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to Read More
BPIA logo
Seed/BiotechBPIA Files Comments with USDA
April 24, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) has filed comments with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Read More
Eric SfiligojHope for Application Equipment Sales
April 24, 2017
The old saying goes that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” If this is indeed the case, then things may Read More
Stewardship video screenshot
ManagementNew Video Raises Awareness of 2,4-D Stewardship
April 24, 2017
A new public service video developed and produced by the 2,4-D Research Task Force, in conjunction with the American Soybean Read More
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More
ManagementTalking Responsible Ag
April 13, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the Responsible Ag program with director Bill Qualls. Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Crop InputsWhat do Roundup and Mickey Mouse Have in Common? Califo…
April 13, 2017
(SOURCE: East Valley Times) Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup and many other weed killers, is being added Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSource: ChemChina to Divest Assets to Adama Following S…
April 11, 2017
China National Chemical Corp. plans to redistribute agrochemical assets to its Adama unit after the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta Read More
Farming drone air
Eric SfiligojThe Interest in UAVs for Agriculture Grows
April 10, 2017
At times, it seems as if experts have been predicting “big things” for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for several years Read More
OpinionOpinion: Taking On The Farmers Business Network
April 8, 2017
Well, another round of venture capital funding has come to Farmers Business Network (FBN), followed up with the obligatory feature Read More
Drone
EquipmentFarming Drones: The Future Of Agriculture?
April 7, 2017
Chances are, you already know drones are amazing. After all, this is something DroneLife readers just understand. But if you’re Read More