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IFDC Launches Virtual Fertilizer Research Center
Date:2/23/2010

ed their growing urban populations.”

Dr. Jimmy Cheek, chancellor of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (USA), has agreed to chair the Advisory Board of the VFRC. “The VFRC can develop a new suite of crop nutrients that will revolutionize agriculture in the developing world,” Cheek said. “I am proud to be associated with the effort and recognize its urgency and importance.”

Cheek was appointed chancellor of the University of Tennessee, a top public research university, in early 2009. Prior to his move to Knoxville, Cheek served as the senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the University of Florida (USA).

“It is fitting that IFDC is leading the global, virtual search for the next generation of crop nutrient products,” Roy stated. IFDC was created in October 1974 as a center of excellence with expertise in fertilizers to service the needs of developing countries. IFDC is an outgrowth of the National Fertilizer Development Center (NFDC) of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The majority of fertilizers in use worldwide were developed at the NFDC and/or IFDC.

IFDC was created during a period of crisis, similar to the crises that occurred in 2007-08. There were global food shortages in the early 1970s. Energy shortages were becoming commonplace, and fertilizers were also in short supply. The prices of agricultural inputs (fertilizers, seeds and crop protection products) needed to help produce food skyrocketed. All of these factors put the developing countries at a distinct disadvantage.

The world food supply has managed to stay ahead of rising population due to increasing productivity and a modest expansion of cultivated area. However, non-renewable resource reserves (such as phosphates and potash), increasing energy costs and the growing cost to the environment when bringing more land under cultivation pose new challenges. Fertilizer research and deve
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