Good-Bye PPI, Hello IPNI

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I’m here to wish a fond farewell to an old friend and welcome a new one into the world of agriculture. A new global, scientific, agronomic organization called the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) has been recently established by a resolution adopted unanimously by its founding members. The mission of IPNI is to develop and promote scientific information about the responsible management of plant nutrients for the benefit of the human family.

The Board of Directors of the Potash & Phosphate Institute (PPI) has committed its scientific staff to the new organization. As a result of this commitment, PPI ceased to exist Jan. 1.

But fear not. The new Institute will continue the tradition of providing technical and educational support on nutrient management. IPNI’s North American Program includes six regional directors: Dr. Rob Mikkelsen in the Western Region, Dr. Adrian Johnston in the Northern Great Plains Region (acting), Dr. Mike Stewart in the South­ern and Central Great Plains Region, Dr. Scott Murrell in the Northcentral Region, Dr. Tom Bruulsema in the Northeast Region, and Dr. Cliff Snyder in the Southeast Region (acting). Drs. Johnston and Snyder are temporarily acting in regional capacities as they have new responsibilities within IPNI. Dr. Johnston is Asian Group coordinator and Dr. Snyder is the new nitrogen program director. Dr. Terry Roberts serves as the first president of IPNI. I will be serving as Americas Group coordinator and director of research.

Taking Our First Steps

IPNI officially began operations Jan. 1 with effective scientific programs in place in North America, Central and South America, China, India, and Southeast Asia. The Insti­tute anticipates promptly establishing programs in Western and Eastern Europe as well as in the Middle East.

The new organization is composed of fertilizer industry companies that are basic producers of nitrogen (N) and/or phosphate (P), and/or potash (K), and/or sulfur (S) for agricultural use. Large retail organizations that do not qualify as basic producers of N, P, K, or S may qualify as associate members. The purpose of IPNI is to help provide a coordinated scientific foundation for fertilizer nutrient use and to scientifically address associated environmental issues.
Founding members run the gamut of crop nutrient-focused organizations. They include Agrium Inc.; Arab Potash Co.; Belarusian Potash Co.; Bunge Fertilizantes S.A.; CF Industries Holdings, Inc.; Groupe OCP; Intrepid Min­ing, LLC; K+S KALI GmbH; The Mosaic Co.; PotashCorp; Saskferco; J.R. Sim­plot; Sino­chem Hong Kong Ltd.Spur Ventures Inc.; SQM; Terra In­dustries Inc.; and Uralkali.

The executive committee and officers of the Board of Directors have been named as well. Patricio Contesse, president/CEO of SQM, has been elected chairman. Mike Wilson, president/CEO of Agrium, will serve as vice chairman. Stephen R. Wilson, chairman/CEO of CF Industries, is the group’s finance committee chair. All three were elected for two-year terms and serve as members of the IPNI Executive Committee. Other members include Olavio Takenaka, vice president, procurement, of Bunge Fertilizantes; Joachim Felker, member of the management of K+S KALI; James Prokopanko, president/CEO of Mosaic; Oleg Petrov, general manager of Uralkali; and Dr. Terry L. Roberts, president of IPNI.

There is a long history of PPI providing agronomic support to the fertilizer industry, as well as research funding to a number of important management projects over the years. This effort will continue, and be expanded, to include all plant essential nutrients.

Agricultural producers face a number of challenges as they strive to remain economically competitive, while ensuring that their farm operations are in harmony with the environment. Working to achieve this balance as it relates to nutrients in agriculture will continue to be the focus of the IPNI program in North America.

Fixen is senior vice president, Americas and Oceanic Group and director for research for the International Plant Nutrition Institute, Brookings, SD.

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