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TFI to focus on safety, security, sustainability of fertilizer industry

Interview article by Sylvia Traganida

LONDON (ICIS)--The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) is going to focus on safety and security, transportation and industry sustainability next year, according to its president Chris Jahn.
Speaking to ICIS on the sidelines of the TFI World Fertilizer Conference in Boston, Jahn said that “the ultimate goal is making sure that every farmer uses fertilizers in an optimised, responsible, appropriate way for their crop, for their geography, for what it is they are trying to do. That is our ultimate goal and we got some work there to do.”
TFI is a US association that represents the public policy, communication and statistical needs of producers, manufacturers, retailers and transporters of fertilizer.
According to its website, issues of interest to TFI members include security, international trade, energy, transportation, the environment, worker health and safety, farm bill and conservation programmes to promote the use of enhanced efficiency fertilizer.
Jahn added that the association is working on industry stewardship and sustainability initiatives, for example the 4R programme and ResponsibleAg.

4R nutrient stewardship is a management practice concept that is aiming to promote the use of the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement.
ResponsibleAg is an industry-led stewardship initiative designed to help fertilizer storage and handling facilities achieve and maintain federal regulatory compliance.
Another area of focus for TFI is rail transportation, especially the positive train control (PTC) technology which needs to be implemented by 31 December.
A 2008 safety law requires PTC and carriers are expected to have it in use by the end of this year.
But the railroad industry estimates the cost of implementing the system could reach $70bn, and both freight operators and passenger lines have told Congress that they cannot meet the deadline. Missing the deadline would sting the fertilizer industry, oil and gas, and other chemical producers that depend on rail.
A major setback was the resignation of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner on 25 September.
“We are doing everything we can [for the PTC issue], in fact we helped to organise a letter from the agricultural community from members of Congress to the House leadership. The one caveat I will add however, that does concern us, is Speaker [John] Boehner resigning [on 25 September] and figuring out who the new House leadership is going to be.
“We are going to work very hard to make sure that is not a distraction from actually doing what needs to be done to address this issue. So that's a complicated factor that no one anticipated less than a week ago,” Jahn added.
Jahn is cautiously optimistic that Congress will act in time to resolve the PTC issue. “We are doing everything humanly possible to educate members of Congress about the huge impact that it will have not only for agriculture, but basically for the whole economy,” Jahn said.
He added that agriculture has changed tremendously over the last 10 years and the food industry has also changed significantly and will continue to do so.
TFI is working proactively with the
 International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), theNutrients for Life foundation, the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and the Field to Market group in Louisiana on an international basis on different ways to educate its constituencies.
“Wal-mart, General Mills, Kellog’s and all these companies are looking at their supply chains and their carbon footprints and we are working on ways to help them optimise their fertilizer use so they can optimise their carbon footprint as well. So it's not about reducing rate or reducing the use of fertilizers, it's about using it in the right way which has a huge market impact over time,” he added.
Jahn also spoke about the role of trade publications in the fertilizer industry. “I think it's important that everyone understands not just the day-to-day of what the market is doing, but also how to protect the industry's right to operate and how to earn our future,” he concluded.
The TFI World Fertilizer Conference took place on 27-29 September in Boston.




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