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TFI commends next Secretary of US Department of Agriculture appointment

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World Fertilizer,

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement commending the US Senate for their confirmation of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the nation’s next Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“American agriculture needs a strong voice at the helm of USDA, and Sonny Perdue will be that voice. Sec. Perdue is only the third secretary of agriculture in more than a century to have farmed for a living. His knowledge of the unique opportunities and obstacles facing agribusiness will be a tremendous asset to the entire agriculture community.

The US fertilizer industry is one of the world’s largest, and makes a tremendous contribution to US economic growth, employing American workers in manufacturing, wholesale, and retail agribusiness sectors. Our industry generates more than US$154 billion in economic activity, and we directly employ more than 88 000 Americans in quality high paying jobs.

Farm profitability depends on many uncontrollable variables such as weather and global market forces. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to ensure that farmers have the best information to manage those factors that are in their control.

A strong USDA research budget will make this possible, and Sec. Perdue is the right person to lead this effort.  Specifically, research in support of 4R Nutrient Stewardship, a science-based framework to aid implementation of fertilizer best management practices on the farm, must be a high priority for USDA. The 4R concepts are being incorporated into USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, in state nutrient loss reduction strategies and by the Soil Health Institute. While the concepts for 4R implementation are sound, significant information gaps remain on quantifiable economic and environmental impacts of individual and paired 4R practices. While the fertilizer-industry supported 4R Research Fund has dedicated close to $5 million to support this work, the need for competitive grant funds from USDA is still great.

We look forward to working with Sec. Perdue to ensure that American agriculture has the tools necessary to meet the many challenges ahead and continue growing the food, fuel and fiber to feed the world.”

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