Winning Innovators Announced in the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges

October 25, 2021

Winning Innovators Announced in the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges

Oct 25, 2021

Key Issues:Production

Author: Stacey Stiens

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the winners of the Next Generation Fertilizer Innovations Challenge.  Along with EPA and USDA, the competition is a collaboration with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).


“This collaboration allows us to propel advancement with unified efforts from the private and public sectors.  Corn farmers are committed to continuous improvements in sustainability and efficiency—we are always looking for new ways to be better,” said Iowa corn grower and NCGA President Chris Edgington.  “This competition is an opportunity to encourage the development of new technologies and innovative practices which will help bolster productivity and profitability for growers.”


The goal of the competition is to improve the efficiency of fertilizers to increase crop yields while reducing the impacts of fertilizers on the environment. Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers facilitate the growth of crops, including corn, at yields that provide sustained global food production.  “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.


The winning concepts from this leg of the challenge include a range of solutions that can improve environmental outcomes, including reduced nitrous oxide emissions—the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture—while maintaining or increasing crop yields. 


“Nutrient stewardship has been a strong factor in our progress and will continue to be an integral consideration in order to meet or exceed our U.S. Corn Sustainability Goals,” said Edgington. “Farmers will continue to monitor and optimize the 4R’s—the right source, right rate, right time and right place. Pairing these best management practices along with new solutions, we will maximize progress towards our goal of reducing GHG emissions an additional 13% by 2030.”


To view the full list of winners and their innovative concepts:


And to learn more about NCGA’s U.S. Corn Sustainability Goals, visit