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Success Stories

Washington State Company Exemplifies Spirit of National Biobased Product Day Through USDA Grant Funding To Increase Organic Fertilizer Production

Roni Baer
A USDA grant for $2.6 million was awarded to Perfect Blend LLC, an organic fertilizer company in Washington, facilitated infrastructure improvements, including the replacement of a giant stainless-steel dryer drum used to produce organic fertilizer at the company's plant in Othello in rural Adam's County. USDA Photo by Tim O’Connell.

With fertilizer prices soaring due to global factors, relief comes to support local businesses, rural communities, strengthen the domestic supply chain in Washington State, providing more stable prices for farmers thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fertilizer Product Expansion Program (FREP) which was launched by the Biden-Harris Administration to counter surging prices. In fact, fertilizer prices increased by over 100 percent from 2021 to 2022 due to various factors, including the Ukraine war, mineral scarcity, soaring energy costs, global demand, reliance on imports, and a lack of competition in the industry.

USDA invested $29 million in the first round to support independent, sustainable, and farmer-focused fertilizer production, aligning with a broader government initiative to enhance competition in agricultural markets. By encouraging investments in American-made fertilizer, the program aims to provide farmers with more choices and fairer prices, diminishing reliance on unreliable foreign suppliers. The first FPEP round, which closed late in 2022, received over 350 applications from 47 states and two territories.

The funding allocated in the first round supported eight independent businesses across various states, including Perfect Blend, LLC in Washington. Perfect Blend, a pioneer in biotic fertilizers, received a $2.6 million grant to enhance its manufacturing capabilities. Utilizing patented technology, the company processes raw manure with other macro and micro-nutrients, accelerating soil fertility through carbon nutrients designed to stimulate resident soil microbes. This grant facilitated infrastructure improvements, such as replacing a stainless-steel dryer drum and constructing a liquid fertilizer blending station.

"This is a significant investment to expand locally produced fertilizer in Washington State, which, in turn, helps our local agricultural producers,” said Helen Price Johnson, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State

Dan Hazen, Perfect Blend Managing Member, praised the efficient management of the grant by the USDA Rural Development office in Yakima, resulting in a quicker-than-normal completion of the project. The upgraded Othello facility, operational since 2001, now has the capacity to double both dry granular and liquid fertilizer production, benefiting local farmers and producers.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the administration's commitment to addressing rising input costs. He said the expansion of domestic fertilizer production aims to support local businesses, rural communities, and ensure fair prices for farmers, stating, "The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA understand the importance of taking on the root causes and need to invest in the agricultural supply chain here at home to create a resilient, secure, and sustainable economy for the long haul."

Perfect Blend’s strides in enhancing organic fertilizer production align perfectly with the principles celebrated on the Second Annual National Biobased Products Day (March 8). Managed by USDA, the goal of the BioPreferred Program is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. The increased development, purchase, and use of biobased products reduces our nation's reliance on petroleum, increases the use of renewable agricultural resources, and contributes to reducing adverse environmental and health impacts.

By prioritizing sustainable practices, Perfect Blend contributes to the broader vision of building a resilient and eco-friendly agriculture landscape which aligns well with USDA’s BioPreferred Program, while echoing the commitment championed by the Biden-Harris Administration through initiatives like USDA’s Fertilizer Product Expansion Program.

For more information USDA’s BioPreferred Program, visit the web at www.biopreferred.gov.

Story by Business Program Specialist Roni Baer, Yakima Office

Obligation Amount:
Year(s) of Obligation:
Congressional District:
  • Washington: District 5