TFI President Pushes for Fertilizers on Critical Minerals List

There is a push to get key farm products on a critical minerals list. Corey Rosenbusch, president of the Fertilizer Institute, testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, saying phosphate and potash are two of three essential nutrients for ag productivity.

“And we must ensure that these critical minerals can be accessed. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients will lead to crop yield failure, and our global partners have recognized that both Canada and the European Union have put these minerals on their own critical minerals list.”

In the US, critical minerals are defined as essential to economic or national security of the US and have supply chain vulnerabilities.

“The US only accounts for about 7% of global fertilizer production, and we are a net importer of fertilizer. As a matter of fact, over 90% of all fertilizers are actually used outside the United States, making US farmers even more vulnerable to supply shocks.”

Belarus and Russia supply 40% of the total world potash production, with only 12 other countries as options. Rosenbusch says the US relies on global markets for potash. 95% is imported.

“We are fortunate that we do indeed get 80% of our potash from Canada. However, Canada is not immune from supply chain disruptions. For example, in 2023 we curtailed shipments and production of potash because of a dock worker strike.”

And there are only 11 major phosphate producing countries. China and Morocco are the two largest producers combined, at about 58% of the market. Rosenbusch says the US frequently imports phosphate to meet producer demand.

And permitting is perhaps our biggest challenge to accessing these minerals. One recent permitting example of a phosphate mine in Idaho required 10 years, and $36 million to complete.