U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges, a joint EPA-USDA partnership and competition to advance agricultural sustainability in the United States. This competition includes two challenges that seek proposals for new and existing fertilizer technologies that maintain or improve crop yields while reducing environmental impacts compared to conventional fertilizers.
This competition will encourage innovative fertilizer technologies that can help American farmers improve productivity while reducing impacts to the environment, including water quality.
The first challenge is the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge. This challenge aims to identify existing Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs) that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria, including their ability to reduce nutrient runoff and air emissions relative to conventional fertilizers. This challenge will not have a monetary prize, but winners will receive scientific evaluation of their product and recognition from EPA, USDA, and other collaborators and participants.
The second challenge is the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge. This challenge aims to generate new concepts for novel technologies that can help address environmental concerns surrounding agriculture practices while maintaining or increasing crop yields. A panel of expert judges will review the submissions. Each winner will receive at least $10,000.
Along with EPA and USDA, the competition is coordinated with The Fertilizer Institute, the International Fertilizer Development Center, the National Corn Growers Association, and The Nature Conservancy.
Both challenges are now open! A Next Gen Informational Challenges informational webinar will be held on September 24, 2020. Participants must submit their entries by October 30, 2020, for the EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge and by November 30, 2020, for the Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge. Winners will be announced in the winter of 2021.