Compass Minerals Opens Innovation Center in Kansas

New facility aims to accelerate plant nutrition technologies, influence grower practices and spur crop efficiency.

Published online: Mar 06, 2018 Articles, Fertilizer
Viewed 3277 time(s)

Compass Minerals Plant Nutrition has expanded its research and development capabilities with the opening of a new North American Innovation Center. The 14,000-square-foot facility located in Stilwell, Kan., just outside Kansas City, will feature a 3,400-square-foot greenhouse, a growth chamber and 14 acres of field trials.

This is the company’s second innovation center dedicated to support the development of plant nutrition technologies. The first center opened in Iracemápolis, Brazil, in 2017. Recently, the company signaled it would be growing its research and development operations with the hiring of Ryan Bartlett, previously with Monsanto Company.

“Our goal is to directly influence farmer growing practices through science,” says Bartlett, now Compass’ vice president over innovation and product development. “In the world of agriculture R&D, the lion’s share of funding has consistently gone towards advanced breeding techniques, developing transgenics and crop protection products. We’re working to compound the gains realized with those innovations by developing similar advances in plant nutrition.” 

A diverse staff of chemists, agronomists, soil scientists, engineers, geologists and plant physiologists make up the research team focused on proprietary product development and application processes. With on-site chemistry and formulations expertise, the company is focused on balancing the right combination of business acumen and science to accelerate product realization and speed to market. The staff is focused on refreshing the industry’s most complete plant nutrition portfolio while developing new offerings for today’s grower. 

“We hold a strategic advantage when it comes to developing plant nutrition products,” says Bartlett. “We have the ability to go from ideation to formulation to field testing all in the same facility in a very short time. The ability to utilize our South American Innovation Center also provides tremendous advantage for counter-season field testing. We’re also able to show retailers and growers our process so they have confidence in the quality of our product and our operations. It is gratifying to see the work in the lab translate to performance in the field.”

Currently, the company’s high-quality specialty plant nutrition products includes a line of micronutrients that coat onto dry fertilizer, Wolf Trax DDP Nutrients and Protassium+ sulfate of potash. Following the 2016 acquisition of Produquímica, one of Brazil’s leading manufacturers and distributors of specialty plant nutrients, Compass Minerals Plant Nutrition introduced a diverse portfolio of high-quality water-soluble technologies in North America. ProAcqua products provide valuable innovation to foliar and fertigation applications.

In addition to relying heavily on input from their agronomists, sales teams and customers as they consider next-generation product development and market value, the company also is partnering with leading universities to gather insight on new product concepts.

With the opening of the Innovation Center in Kansas, a new website ( has been developed to directly link potential collaborators and innovators to the company. The goal is to make it easier for academia and potential strategic partners to connect with the staff in Stilwell, Kan., and Iracemápolis, Brazil.

“With farmers utilizing better genetics, traits and crop protectants, we are well-positioned to develop specialized nutrient solutions that help farmers to realize the investment that comes in a seed or jug,” says Bartlett. “We believe that our future is to develop next-generation, efficient and sustainable crop nutrition products, and we’re well on our way.”