Fert Industry Has Impact on US Economy

Industry Contributes Over $130B & Many Jobs to US Economy

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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A truck load of anhydrous ammonia at a terminal fertilizer location. The U.S. fertilizer industry contributes billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the nation's economy, according to a new study. (DTN Photo by Russ Quinn)

OMAHA (DTN) -- The fertilizer industry contributed over $130 billion and nearly 500,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in 2019. These are among the many highlights of the Fertilizer Industry Economic Impact Study released on Thursday by The Fertilizer Institute (TFI).

The full report can be found at: http://economicimpact.tfi.org/…

Nearly 33,000 jobs are in the manufacturing of nutrients with 56,420 retail jobs and 14,657 terminal and wholesale jobs, according to the report. Wages associated with these jobs added up to $34.31 billion.

In addition to the $130 billion contributed to the economy, $8.89 billion were kicked into the transportation sector, including rail, truck, pipeline and barge.

The industry paid $7 billion in state taxes and $7.63 billion in federal taxes in 2019.

The U.S. fertilizer industry made possible the production of $188.78 million worth of vegetables, fruits, nuts and feed for livestock in 2019. Livestock feed, also grown with fertilizer, helped to create an additional $177.53 million worth of meat, milk and other products such as eggs.

This data, it should be pointed out, were accumulated in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. This has obvious economic effects on all aspects of business but the fertilizer industry was deemed essential by the federal government in March.

In TFI webinar on Thursday, Clark Mica, TFI Vice-President for Legislative Affairs, said the study was updated from a previous economic study. The data is especially useful for when TFI has discussion with policy makers regarding the industry, he said.

"The first question we get asked when we met with members of Congress is 'how does your industry affect my congressional district,'" Mica said. "We then provide them with the economic data of the industry."

John Dunham, Managing Partner of John Dunham and Associates who researched the data, said the findings are useful beyond the obvious lobbying uses. Communications to the general public and other various business activities are a couple of other avenues the economic data can be utilized, he said.

"Use it in your Rotary club meetings," Dunham said. "Use the data when you are talking to local officials as well."

The publication of the study is the culmination of months of compiling data, including the direct contribution and downstream impacts of the entire fertilizer industry. This would include the entire chain from manufacturers to wholesalers, retailers and goods and service providers.

"The fertilizer industry doesn't just help grow the food on your dinner table, we also help grow the U.S. economy," said TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch in a news release.

"We often highlight that fertilizer is responsible for over half of the world's food production, meaning without our industry we'd only have half as much food for the planet's growing population," he said.

"The data in the study shows that we're not only feeding the world, we're also feeding our national, state and local economies through direct and indirect employment and wages, the value of the crops and farm products produced with our plant nutrients, and the transportation and logistical network that moves plant nutrients to the farmers to be there exactly when they need them. The movement of fertilizer alone benefits our economy to the tune of nearly $9 billion annually."

Russ Quinn can be reached at russ.quinn@dtn.com

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Russ Quinn