Guest Post: Helping Farmers Feed the World – An Innovative Partnership with Chevrolet and Future Farmers of America

Tony Will, president and chief executive officer of CF Industries, discusses how his company is partnering with Chevrolet to help farmers and the environment.
Jul 21, 2014 2:45 PM ET
National FFA officers accept CF Industries' $600,000 donation to support excellence in farmer education and fertilizer best management practices. From left to right: Jackson Harris, National FFA Southern Region Vice President, University of Alabama; Wes Davis, National FFA Eastern Region Vice President, Purdue University; Steven Brockshus, National FFA Central Region Vice President, Iowa State University; Mitch Baker, National FFA Secretary, University of Tennessee; Brian Walsh, National FFA President, Virginia Tech; and Jason Wetzler, National FFA Western Region Vice President, Oklahoma State University. (Photo: Jack Conroy)


CF Industries strongly supports efforts to educate farmers about efficient, effective and responsible use of fertilizer.  In that spirit, today we are announcing an exciting new partnership with Chevrolet to benefit the National FFA Organization (FFA).  CF Industries is donating $600,000 to FFA to support excellence in farmer education and fertilizer best management practices.  Our future farmers must rise to the challenge of growing enough food to feed a global population projected to reach nine billion by 2050.  The efficient use of fertilizer is essential to meet this challenge.  Teaching tomorrow’s farmers the best information about fertilizer is truly in everyone’s interest.

Innovation is at the heart of this pilot program, starting with its financing – through the sale of voluntary carbon reduction credits earned from fertilizer manufacturing.  CF Industries operates facilities that installed nitrous oxide abatement technology in 2008, earning credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Last month, we arranged to sell a portion of these credits to Chevrolet in order to benefit FFA and further the fertilizer education mission.  This will help FFA reach its members with the best new information, like the 4R Nutrient Stewardship (4R) program that teaches farmers how to apply the right fertilizers at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

Today, billions of people depend on the abundant, affordable food made possible by fertilizer use and modern farming knowledge.  Nitrogen is the main plant nutrient most essential to achieving high-yield grain harvests.  Already, an estimated forty to sixty percent of the world’s food production is achieved through the effective use of fertilizer.

North America’s farmers are truly a wonder of the world, and many of them got started through programs like those provided by FFA.  Over the last 40 years, our farmers have tripled domestic food production by using fertilizers and other modern practices to increase crop yields per acre.  At the same time they’ve decreased the amount of land under cultivation.  They are helping to reduce hunger across the globe, including in the developing world – while preserving land.  Their leadership and ingenuity point the way forward for farm communities everywhere.  Teaching tomorrow’s farmers about the principles of “4R” will help educate them about high-yield agriculture, profitable operations and reducing environmental impacts.

To grow enough food, farmers have two basic choices: try to keep putting more land into production, or utilize best practices – including advances in fertilizer efficiency, seed technology and mechanization – on existing land to maintain or even increase yields.  For many reasons, the first approach cannot be sustained economically or environmentally.  But the second approach has been proven to work, helping modern farmers maintain soil fertility and achieve higher-yield harvests decade after decade.

CF Industries’ is committed to serving North American farmers today and tomorrow.  As we work to promote best fertilizer management, we are investing nearly $4 billion in new U.S. fertilizer production facilities to help farmers keep the “green revolution” of modern agriculture growing for future generations.

About the author

Tony Will is President and Chief Executive Officer of CF Industries, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer manufacturers, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois.