The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in conjunction with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to identify enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEFs) and related products to reduce the environmental effects of row crop agriculture while maintaining or increasing farmer productivity and profitability. The use of commercial fertilizers of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) is one of the critical pillars of modern agriculture, relieving widespread nutrient limitation and facilitating the growth of crops at yields that would not be possible under the naturally existing supply of nutrients in the soil. However, fertilizers applied without consideration of the appropriate rate, timing, source, and method, can have harmful effects on the environment and human health. This challenge is part of a larger effort to evaluate the effectiveness of existing technologies and spark innovation of new technologies that can reduce the environmental effects from row crop agriculture while maintaining profitability. This challenge focuses on sparking innovative solutions for enhanced efficiency and cost-effective delivery of N and P to growing plants.
Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers facilitate the growth of crops, including corn, at yields that provide sustained global food production. However, fertilizers applied without consideration of the appropriate rate, timing, source, and method, can have harmful effects on the environment and human health. “Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer” (EEF) is a term for new formulations that control fertilizer release or alter reactions that reduce nutrient losses to the environment. EEFs and other product technology innovations may be an important addition to a system of conservation practices that help reduce the impacts from row crop agriculture on the environment while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity and profitability.
The Next Gen Fertilizer Innovation Challenge aims to identify concepts for novel technologies for fertilizers that can reduce the environmental effects from modern agriculture while maintaining or increasing crop yields. These concepts can include any enhanced efficiency or other technology product including, additives, inhibitors, stabilizers, or other technologies used with or in combination with commercial fertilizer nutrients, that enhance nutrient uptake and performance. Submissions to the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge are not near-market and may include technologies that are not traditional EEFs.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on November 30, 2020.