Life’s Main Ingredient

The Nutrients for Life Foundation was formed in 2004 with the mission of educating the public about the beneficial role fertilizers play in society. In recent months, Nutrients for Life has gained traction with its Fertilizer Is Life’s Main Ingredient consumer campaign and a variety of other activities. We asked Harriet E. Wegmeyer, executive director of the group, to fill us in and let us know what part retailers might play in the effort.

What was the purpose of the Fertilizer Is Life’s Main Ingredient campaign?
We realized as an industry that fertilizer education was coming from others — mostly the media and environmental groups citing negative depictions of fertilizer. We decided to try something we had never done — speaking directly to the public about fertilizer or crop nutrients, and so Fertilizer Is Life’s Main Ingredient was born. The concept is that all of our food, which is used to make all the wonderful recipes we enjoy, begins with fertilizer.

Where has the campaign been used?
Nutrients for Life ran the campaign in the Wash­ington, DC, market in the fall of 2008 on WTOP – the most-listened to radio station in the market with over 1 million listeners a week — and also placed the print ads on DC’s Metro, which serves more than 800,000 riders a day. At the end of the campaign, we were able to move the needle and change people’s perceptions according to our pre- and post-campaign surveys. We wanted to make people think “what does fertilizer mean for me? I eat food, so it’s important to me.”

What did your surveys show?
Post-campaign, nearly half of survey respondents agreed that fertilizers are a main ingredient for a healthy world. Prior to the campaign, 8% fewer agreed with that statement. Also, after the campaign, less than one-third agreed that fertilizer use should be reduced in the United States. Before the campaign, two-thirds wanted fertilizer use reduced.

Through the Internet, we also reached 24 countries, 36 states, and had our Web site traffic increase 79% from November 2007 to November 2008.

Your group has also been involved with an exhibit at the Smithsonian as well. What is that about?
The Nutrients for Life Foundation is the lead sponsor of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s Dig It! The Secrets of Soil exhibition in Washington. The exhibition, allows visitors to delve into soils’ role in our lives, including the role of nutrient-rich soil for food production. Nutrients for Life is also sponsoring the exhibition when it goes on tour around the country to 10 different locations starting in 2010. The middle and high-school science curriculum developed by Nutrients for Life will be included in teacher educational materials as the exhibition travels.

Tell us more about the educational curriculum.
Nutrients for Life has several educational pieces available for teachers, students, and the public. Among them is the science-based curriculum, Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century, a six-lesson plan supplement for science teachers focused on soil composition, nutrients for plant growth, and feeding the growing population. Since its release in 2007, we have distributed more than 3,600 copies of this curriculum.

How has it been received by the teachers?
Nutrients for Life surveyed the 571 teachers who had provided e-mail addresses. With a 21% response rate, we found that nearly half of those have used the curriculum. And 95.8% of teacher-respondents who used the curriculum found it helpful in their lesson planning. Twenty-two percent identified our lesson plan two, Properties of Soil, as the most valuable to them in their teaching.

Your board members are some of the bigger companies in the fertilizer business. Why are they so keen on this effort?
We are a proud industry and we have every reason to be just that. After all, 40% to 60% of our world’s food supply is directly attributed to fertilizer. Through all of our varied activities, our goal is the same: to educate people about fertilizer’s importance. Companies in the fertilizer business — retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, cannot sit back and hope that others will tell our story; others aren’t likely to speak up for the good that fertilizers do for all of us. Through schools, media, and the public, Nutrients for Life is dedicated to improving people’s perception of fertilizer.

What would you like retailers to do? Is there a part that they can play in Nutrients for Life?
Retailers have many opportunities to get involved. Something as simple as hanging a Fertilizer is Life’s Main Ingredient sign in their store (provided complimentarily) gets the message out. Retailers are historically highly engaged in their communities. With these relationships, retailers can hand-deliver the curriculum to their middle and high school; drop off Fun with the Plant Nutrient Team and posters at the local elementary school; give talks to garden clubs and others using the Foundation materials; run our ad in your local paper; request to be added to the Foundation’s mailing list (e-mail or mail); and donate time or money to the Foundation. Nutrients for Life is a charitable organization and has as its mission activities that benefit and should be supported by everyone in the fertilizer industry.

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories

FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute: New President, Renewed Energy
February 3, 2014
Chris Jahn relishes the opportunity to lead the organization through the challenging times ahead. Read More
FertilizerA New Cycle For Fertilizer Demand
January 2, 2014
Changes in the corn market could have a major impact on the crop nutrients sector in 2014, say experts. Read More
FertilizerOSHA Hammers West Fertilizer With Over $100K In Fines For April Explosion
October 10, 2013
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fining the parent company of the West Fertilizer plant, Adair Grain Inc., $118,300 for 24 violations. Read More
FertilizerTFI Appeals Chesapeake Bay TMDL Ruling
October 10, 2013
The Fertilizer Institute joined a coalition appealing a U.S. District Court ruling on the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for nitrogen and phosphorus. Read More

Trending Articles

Green Valley Ag facility
Retail FacilitiesGreen Valley Ag Adopts A.J. Sackett’s Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology At New Facility
July 8, 2014
Sackett's Precision Fertilizer Blending® Technology is making huge strides around the world. Green Valley Ag adopts the technology at its new facility to support its advancing agronomic needs. Read More
Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More

Latest News

HerbicidesWillowood To Market Glufosinate
July 28, 2014
Willowood USA recently announced that Federal EPA has approved its technical registration for glufosinate. Read More
InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer, Weyerhaeuser Enter Technology License A…
July 28, 2014
The agreement brings together agricultural and forestry know-how to sustainably improve crop productivity for corn growers around the world. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Launches Global iPad App
July 28, 2014
The free AGCO Global iPad App can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes Store and features the full family of RoGator self-propelled sprayers and TerraGator high-floatation spreaders. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environme…
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More