A company marketing more than 100,000 tons of ash fertilizer derived from poultry litter has been named the Minnesota Agricultural Utilization Research Institute's 2011 Ag Innovator of the Year.
North American Fertilizer, Benson, generates more than $10 million in annual sales of NAFMicro, a high-quality fertilizer that is applied to about 150,000 acres of Minnesota farmland. The fertilizer, derived from ash produced at the nearby Fibrominn plant, contains vital soil nutrients and minerals including sulfur, zinc, magnesium and boron.
"NAFMicro is the only product of its kind in the U.S.," says North American Fertilizer General Manager Steve Miller. Because it is such a unique product, Miller says "one of the initial challenges was to instill confidence in the dealer and end user that the product was everything it claimed to be."
AURI assisted with testing the fertilizer as part of its focus on finding uses for agricultural processing coproducts. AURI presents the Ag Innovator award each year to a Minnesota company that has utilized AURI services, is innovative in their product or process, utilizes significant amounts of agricultural commodities or coproducts and has achieved success in the marketplace.
"North American Fertilizer is a great example of a company taking an ag processing coproduct and turning it into a business that is creating jobs and economic activity in rural Minnesota," says Teresa Spaeth, AURI executive director. "We present this award to draw attention to the contribution innovative ag-based companies are making not only to agriculture, but to the economy of the whole state.""With so many great companies working tirelessly to create whatever edge they can, to be considered as "Ag Innovator of the Year" is indeed an honor," Miller says.