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  • Kristin Cooper

Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges

EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), have launched a competition which includes two challenges intended to accelerate the development and use of existing and new product technologies that are affordable to reduce the environmental impacts of U.S. corn production. The results of the Partnership may ultimately be leveraged to improve production of other crops and in the U.S. and abroad. Basic information about the challenges can be found here.


Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers facilitate the growth of crops, including corn, at yields that provide sustained global food production. However, fertilizers applied without consideration of the appropriate rate, timing, source, and method, can have harmful effects on the environment and human health. “Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer” (EEF) is a term for new formulations that control fertilizer release or alter reactions that reduce nutrient losses to the environment. EEFs and other next generation product technology innovations may be an important addition to a system of conservation practices that help reduce the impacts from row crop agriculture on the environment, while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity and profitability.

Register for the informational webinar on Sept. 24, 2020, from 10:00 – 11:00 am EST. “Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers” (EEF) refer to new formulations that control fertilizer release or alter reactions that reduce nutrient losses to the environment. EEFs and other next generation product technology innovations may be an important addition to a system of conservation practices that help reduce the impacts from row crop agriculture on the environment, while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity and profitability.

  • The EEFs: Environmental and Agronomic Challenge aims to identify existing EEFs currently on or near-market that meet or exceed certain environmental and agro-economic criteria. Submissions are due by 11:59 PM ET, October 30, 2020. Pre-registration is not required to submit. Further information can be found here.


  • The Next Gen Fertilizer Innovations Challenge aims to identify concepts for novel technologies for fertilizers and other product technology innovations that can reduce the environmental effects from modern agriculture while maintaining or increasing crop yields. Submissions may include technologies that are not currently on the market or technology concepts that are not traditional EEFs and not in commercial use as a fertilizer. Submissions are due by 11:59 PM ET, November 30, 2020. Solvers are required to register for this challenge. To register and submit a solution, please visit the Challenge on the InnoCentive page.

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