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Fertilizer is a key ingredient in feeding a growing global population, Half of the food grown around the world today, for both people and animals combined, is only made possible through the use of fertilizer. As demand continues to grow, farmers around the world will continue to rely on fertilizers to increase production efficiency to be able to produce more food while optimizing inputs.
A continuous supply of chemical fertilizers is vital to farmers and consumers because crop output and food availability depends directly on fertilizer use.
In the U.S, farmers spend billions of dollars on fertilizers annually, which flows through a complex chain of manufacturers, formulators, blenders, and dealers.
The industry which supplies these products is highly capital-intensive, a multibillion-dollar segment to the economy that is expected to not only provide products that are vital to agricultural productivity but also generate adequate returns for investors and owners in the industry.
The trend towards globally competitive U.S. energy prices have enabled the nitrogen fertilizer industry to reverse a decade-old decline in domestic manufacturing capacity.
The production of fertilizer is energy-intensive. Natural gas is used in the production of nitrogen and in manufacturing dry phosphate fertilizers. Government policies that encourage fuel switching from other sources to natural gas may affect demand by creating energy supply or pricing issues. This can impact the U.S. fertilizer industry’s competitiveness in the global market.
The technical development of the fertilizer industry is likely to concentrate on increasing efficiency in the production of the existing products as well as in their agricultural use.
The importance of the cost of energy will continue to drive research towards processes involving less energy or more economic forms of it. For example, coal gasification technology has made important progress in recent years, and in some areas, local price relationships between coal and natural gas may develop to the benefit of coal as the main energy source for ammonia production.
Fertilizer production requires the most advanced environmental management systems if it is to minimize its potential for creating environmental damage. Such systems, involving the use of the best available technologies and expert management, relates not only to the chemical processes involved but also to the storage, transportation and handling of the downstream production and waste materials.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will encourage increased fertiliser production for American farmers in order to combat growing costs, particularly the impact of Putin’s price hike on farmers, and spur competitiveness.
This summer, the USDA will make $250 million available through a new grant programme to assist independent, creative, and sustainable fertiliser production in the United States to feed American farmers.
USDA will also undertake a public inquiry to gather information on seeds and agricultural inputs, fertiliser, and retail marketplaces to address growing competition issues in the agriculture supply chain.
USDA will use funds set aside in September by the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for market disruptions to design a grant programme that will offer “gap” funding to bring new, independent domestic production capacity online—similar to the previously announced USDA grant programme.
The U.S Fertilizer market is estimated at $XX Billion in 2020, growing at XX% CAGR till 2026.
There have been tremendous advances in fertilizer productive technology in the last three or four decades. Through the early part of the seventies, these advances were accompanied by a reduction in the unit cost of producing fertilizers, thereby making these products more economical for users.
Along with many technological advances, a trend towards building larger manufacturing plants, as economies of scale are significant for many types of fertilizer plants has also developed in the recent years. This has direct implications on long-run planning of the industry and, consequently, for future fertilizer supplies.
The U.S. industry is composed of establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing nitrogenous fertilizer materials or mixed fertilizers from nitrogenous materials produced in the same establishment, as classified in Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), manufacturing phosphatic fertilizer materials, or mixed fertilizers, from phosphatic materials, produced in the same establishment.
Geographic distribution of the U.S. fertilizer industry is dictated by proximity with its natural resources, primary inputs, or end-use markets and is clustered by nutrients along the gulf coast (N and S), Florida and North Carolina (P), and New Mexico (K). Fertilizer production may be characterized as moderately labour intensive overall.
Several regulatory issues affect the fertilizer industry, including Superfund, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the Farm Bill. Superfund required EPA to establish a national inventory of toxic chemical emissions called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). As this legislation affects the production of each major fertilizer nutrient product group, the impact will be addressed separately for each nutrient, as appropriate.
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