WASHINGTON — The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announces its policy advocacy priorities for 2014. Critical areas of focus, as identified by TFI’s executive committee, include nutrients in the environment, safety and security, energy and greenhouse gas emissions as well as transportation. Each issue is of critical importance to the fertilizer industry’s ability to provide farmers with the nutrients necessary to produce food and fiber to a growing population.
“These issues serve as guideposts as we develop and implement strategies for addressing congressional and regulatory challenges,” said TFI president Chris Jahn. “We have already hit the ground running to ensure that the industry speaks with a strong and effective voice in 2014.”
Policy regarding nutrients in the environment is frequently misguided and often ignores the tremendous strides that farmers are making to efficiently use fertilizers. Today, growers are using fertilizer with the greatest efficiency in history. Policy proposals calling for across-the-board nutrient reductions lack a scientific basis and can impede the environmentally and economically sound use of fertilizers.
Several TFI initiatives aimed at protecting workers and communities by maintaining safe and secure operations will continue in 2014. Availability of an online retail compliance assessment tool and promotion of best practices and guidelines for fertilizer storage sale and handling will continue to receive strong support, and the Institute will continue to urge the Department of Homeland Security to finalize its ammonium nitrate security rule.
The potential impact of greenhouse gas emission policies is of utmost concern to the fertilizer industry. With the cost of natural gas comprising between 70 and 90 percent of the cost of producing nitrogen fertilizer, TFI will oppose any policy that encourages fuel switching from coal to natural gas as it could seriously impact the cost and supply of natural gas, and, correspondingly, the domestic production of nitrogen.
The efficient transportation of more than 70 million tons of fertilizer each year is crucial to growers and their ultimate customers, U.S. consumers. The unpredictability of weather often creates a very narrow window for planting, and for this reason, farmers rely upon just-in-time delivery of fertilizer nutrients. As such, threats to the continued rail transportation of anhydrous ammonia or movement of fertilizer on the nation’s river system will be met with a swift response from TFI.