Bill Gates Loves Fertilizer

Margy Eckelkamp
Margy Eckelkamp
(Farm Journal Media)

The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.

For ag retail, fertilizer is a foundation in the products and services provided to farmers, but it’s also an input that is changing rapidly thanks to technology, stewardship initiatives, and government regulation.

Fertilizer is a big deal. Globally, it’s three times larger in sales than crop protection or seed individually. And while its role in production ag in the U.S. and other developed markets is well recognized, developing countries and ag economies still have gains to make.

Which is what led to Bill Gates saying the highlight of his trip to Tanzania was visiting a Yara fertilizer warehouse with the capacity for 350,000 metric tons of fertilizer. Read more in Gates’ blog here.

He sees fertilizer as sowing rich ground for growth across the African continent. Since 80% of the workforce in Tanzania is involved in agriculture, improving crop nutrition will spread quickly to other areas of the economy.

He departed the country energized by the potential of fertilizer use, saying “It was exciting to think about the farmers who would use them and the positive impact the fertilizer would have on their next harvests and their country’s future.”

Here's a video overview of his visit and perspective on fertilizer: 

On a recent visit with a retailer here in the U.S., they were showing me their dry fertilizer facility which had opened in the past 18 months. They were proud, and I was excited for them. Perhaps ag retailers and me have something in common with Bill Gates? We can all get excited about dry bulk fertilizer and see its potential.


Latest News

Is There Anything New from the Latest Farm Bill Debate?

We need to know the final funding level in the debt limit debate before there are can be any attempt to mix and match farm bill titles and funds.

Big Oil is Teaming Up With Big Ag, And it Could Turn Cover Crops Into the New Cash Crop for Farmers

Renewable diesel is revving up interest from both agriculture and the oil industry, and now oil and agriculture companies are teaming up to find additional crop sources to fuel the growing demand.

Tyson Foods Plant Closure Raises Antitrust Concerns Among U.S. Farmers and Experts

Tyson Foods gave its chicken suppliers two months' notice of its plan to shut a Virginia processing plant in May, raising concerns among farmers and legal experts about Tyson's compliance with antitrust regulations.

The Scoop Podcast: Overcome Barriers, Instill Confidence, and Improve Performance

Tim McArdle is working as the ResponsibleAg Industry Ambassador. He highlights how ResponsbileAg is an industry program for the industry that “lights the way for you to be in compliance.”

Southern States: Rebuilding for The Next 100 Years

This year marks the cooperative’s 100th year in business. And as Steve Becraft describes, there’s more to celebrate than the centennial milestone.

The Carbon Games: Agricultural Producers Still Looking for the Leaderboard

“What we need to do to move carbon past the starting line is to show farmers the scoreboard and tell them exactly what they need to do to earn their points,” said Mitchell Hora.