USDA allocates $207mn to bolster energy and fertilizer initiatives

Washington DC - May 9, 2019: Sign for the US Department of Agriculture Jamie L Whitten Federal Building, located on the National Mall area, USA

The US agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, during the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention, unveiled substantial investments directed towards advancing renewable energy initiatives and augmenting domestic fertilizer production. $157mn has been allocated to support 675 projects across 42 states under the Rural Energy for America Program.

Vilsack emphasized the nationwide impact of these projects, stating, “It’s going to help lower costs for farmers all across the United States. With over 4,800 awards already made, we anticipate a continued surge in these beneficial programs.”

In addition to energy projects, the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program is channeling $50mn towards projects in seven states, aiming to bolster domestic fertilizer supplies. Vilsack highlighted the critical need for this initiative: “We’ve been overly dependent on external sources for fertilizers crucial for crop production. Today’s announcement marks a significant step in our ongoing efforts to expand fertilizer production domestically, with around 90 projects currently under consideration.”

Among the noteworthy projects is ARE Properties’s plan in Nebraska to construct a fully automated fertilizer facility. This innovative facility will initially utilize natural gas, with provisions for transitioning to alternative energy sources in the future. Furthermore, an existing dry fertilizer facility in Kentucky is set to expand, aiming to increase its production by an additional 17,000 tonnes of packaged fertilizer annually.

These initiatives align with President Biden’s commitment, promising up to $900mn through the Commodity Credit Corporation to support the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. Vilsack concluded by underscoring the USDA’s dedication to fostering diverse income sources for farms and recognizing their contributions, reflecting a broader commitment to sustainability and self-reliance in the agricultural sector.

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