Why it matters
Feeding a growing population requires the agriculture sector to be a sustainable producer. We offer growers whole-acre solutions that consider a production acre to be a managed resource 365 days a year.
We begin the process by developing year-round farming plans with the grower that include customized products and services, incorporate on-farm cultural practices, and provide options to implement new farm technologies, that can lead to measurable and sometimes verifiable environmental outcomes.
By leveraging our global scale, distribution networks, agronomic expertise, innovative offerings and direct grower relationships, we are positioned to lead and transform the agriculture industry.
Our work with growers supports the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
As part of initial work, by the end of 2021 we measured and documented approximately 545,000 sustainable and productive acres in North America. Our extensive grower and partner networks will enable us to continue scaling as we strive for global adoption by the year 2030.
Nutrien’s sustainable and productive agriculture approach aligns with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ("FAO") principles to increase productivity while protecting natural resources and enhancing grower resilience. Each aspect of sustainable and productive agriculture is interconnected and therefore requires an integrated systems approach. Productive and sustainable agriculture is enabled by data driven agronomics and precision agriculture, and has the following dimensions:
Sustainable and productive acre defined
To achieve our goal of 75 million sustainable and productive acres by 2030, we must first define a sustainable and productive acre, which is having one or more of our whole-acre solutions applied in a phased approach:
- Fundamental: Application of sustainable products, conservation practices, technology and/or services.
- More advanced: Use of our digital platform, including Agrible® to track and measure outcomes such as yield, soil health, water quality and biodiversity outcomes to support precision agriculture.
- Most advanced: Verification of GHG emission estimates through third-party verifiers such as SustainCERT and/or verified by our execution partners using the most recent established protocols from government programs and standard bodies.
Our whole-acre solutions will continue to evolve with our investment and advancement in methodologies, technology and partnerships.
Farming is complex. There is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. Every farm is different because every acre is unique, and solutions need to be tailored to meet the specific environmental needs of each local geography, climate, soil and agricultural market. Our experts provide agronomic advice throughout each growing season. Our whole-acre solutions begin with strategic field planning sometimes years in advance, followed by precise application of crop inputs during the growing season, and end with measurement to quantify results and analytics to inform next season’s program.
Whole-acre solutions can improve soil health, protect natural carbon sinks, increase soil carbon sequestration, optimize nutrient use efficiency and retain water while conserving and restoring biodiversity. As a result, crop yields can increase, which further builds soil organic matter and reduces the pressure to convert additional land to food production.
Nutrien products, services and programs
Here are some of our key products, services and programs that support our efforts to provide whole-acre solutions and foster a more sustainable agriculture sector.
Advanced products (such as nitrogen inhibitors and stabilizers and Environmentally Smart Nitrogen® ("ESN") help minimize nitrogen loss to the environment and associated GHG emissions. Also, advanced naturally derived products (such as C2 Technology and biocatalysts) enhance soil and plant function.
Nutrients are essential for growing healthy crops. We have numerous enhanced nutritional products that also improve the environmental performance, including:
- Nitrogen inhibitors and stabilizers are synthetic or biofertility products that are combined with nitrogen-based fertilizers to minimize nitrogen loss and maximize utilization.
- Loveland Products C2 Technology contains unique carbon components that drive chemical and biological activity in the soil and promote better soil structure to improve nutrient uptake, use efficiency, increased drought tolerance and enhance soil microbial activity.
- Agricen’s biocatalyst technologies are based on proprietary biological extraction processes that yield highly active microbial metabolites and other compounds proven to enhance soil and plant function.
Herbicides and pesticides aim to reduce crop loss (due to diseases, weeds and pests) and maximize crop yield
Crop protection products and practices are designed to maintain crop quality and minimize yield losses by managing plant diseases, weeds and pests. Between 26 and 40 percent of the world’s potential crop production is lost annually because of weeds, pests and diseases.
Pest management products are part of the solution for many of our customers. We continue to focus on innovation of ag biological products that are derived from naturally occurring microorganisms and provide environmental benefits.
Advanced plant breeding and genetics resulting in seeds that may be more resistant to pests and drought, maximizing crop yields.
We provide customers access to a broad portfolio of seed and only offer products that meet high quality standards. Across crops, hybrids and varieties combined with the latest trait technology are thoroughly tested across a range of geographies and environments to help Nutrien deliver increased yield and yield stability to our customers.
Check out these examples of seed innovation:
- In 2021, Nutrien Soluções Agrícolas established a new partnership with a leading global supplier of biological products, and joined forces to add Saori, a biological soy seed treatment product, to Nutrien’s product portfolio. Saori helps control Asian soybean rust, a devastating disease that can damage up to 90 percent of the crop and make plants resistant to other crop protection measures.
- We established a research and commercial development partnership with Elemental Enzymes, an ag-tech firm that harnesses the power and potential of naturally derived peptides aimed at improving crop performance in high-value specialty crops.
- Loveland Products is launching a biofungicide called Aura, targeting citrus greening, which causes over $400 million in farm gate losses per year.
Our digital platform combines Agrible®, soil testing and other data technologies to measure the impacts of agricultural practices and recommend customized solutions to each grower.
Our digital platform combines location, agronomic information (crop physiology, soil characteristics, and pest or disease impact), environmental data (precipitation, temperature), weather forecasting, and data science to make field-specific recommendations for growers. These crop management solutions help growers calculate their return on investment, maximize product efficiency and minimize environmental impact.
The platform also enhances data traceability and connectivity to leading agricultural, food and consumer products companies that want to measure the environmental impact of agriculture in their supply chain, providing access to additional market opportunities and incentives for growers. The metrics can be anonymized and aggregated for these partners. We intend for our digital platform to also be instrumental in maintaining soil data related to carbon sequestration and providing growers the required documentation for carbon credit markets.
- Agrible®: Combines field, weather and agronomic data to provide field-level predictive analytics and enables farmers to track improvements in nutrient efficiency, soil health and environmental impact.
- Soil testing: Soil testing enables us to make specific recommendations for growers with products and application rates that supplement and optimize nutrient balance in the soil.
- NutriScription: This is a complete nutritional prescription service that takes soil, water and tissue analysis data and creates agronomically correct and field-specific fertilizer recommendations.
Contact Nutrien Ag Solutions for digital and agronomic solutions!
Our digital precision agriculture tool, Echelon™, combines with Global Positioning System ("GPS") data to allow us to provide specific variable rate recommendations to help improve yields and soil health, while reducing nutrient loss to the environment.
Precision agriculture uses technology, including GPS and geospatial data processing analytics, to allow growers to apply a prescription for more precise seeding and fertilization considering variability in the field. Our crop advisors work with growers to create a precise picture of their fields, giving the confidence to make better decisions in both planning and execution.
Echelon™: Provides growers with a unique model for using Variable Rate Technology ("VRT"). VRT is replacing traditional grid soil sampling with proven imagery analysis to create a variable rate recommendation that is based on a grower’s field history. The Echelon-guided platform offers full farm management capabilities, variable rate services, data management and hands-on support.
Our recommendations include following best practices in nutrient application (such as 4Rs and Fertcare®)
Nutrient management helps optimize the efficiency of crop inputs and minimize environmental impacts. We provide advice to growers that is aligned with the 4R Nutrient Stewardship System in North America and Fertcare® in Australia. Both organizations promote the adoption of best practices in fertilizer application. Where appropriate, the 4Rs include conservation practices like reducing tillage, planting cover crops and structural waterway protection.
Our eKonomicsTM website provides easy-to-understand summaries of the latest academic research and nutrient management information, including easy-to-use nutrient and profitability calculation tools to inform grower decisions.
Our team designs systems to optimize irrigation, especially in dry zones (for example, Australia).
Irrigation management involves infrastructure and technology to efficiently water crops in dry regions, minimizing evaporation and improving yields.
Effective on-farm water management is crucial in a country as dry as Australia. Nutrien owns the largest retail water business in Australia, known as Nutrien Water.
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef
The coast of Queensland, Australia is home to both the Great Barrier Reef and large fields of sugar cane and horticultural crops. Heavy rainfall common in this area makes nutrient (specifically phosphorus and nitrogen) loss through runoff into the coral reef a significant risk. The Queensland government has imposed strict guidelines on the use of these nutrients. Nutrien has a team of agronomists in North Queensland that have been government approved to create specific Nutrient Management Plans for canegrowers. These farm-specific Nutrient Management Plans encompass soil testing and geospatial mapping to apply the correct amount of nutrients to the crop to ensure maximum yield while complying with government regulations to reduce nutrient runoff into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon system.
With our sustainable agriculture programs, Nutrien is creating input strategies that increase grower profitability while also improving and measuring environmental outcomes. We work with growers, downstream partners and third-party experts to determine and incentivize optimal practices and products for continuous improvement.
Our carbon program is expected to help growers implement best practices and measure outcomes to support soil carbon sequestration and reduce GHG emissions, which can be verified by third parties and create a new source of income for growers.
Nutrien is partnering with growers, value-chain stakeholders, governments and NGOs to scale a Carbon Program that is designed to support the advancement of a carbon asset market for the agricultural industry.
Our collaborations are exploring traceability in the agriculture supply chain, from the farm field through to finished consumer product.
Consumer demand for sustainable products is rising and ensuring brand integrity is top of mind for many consumer packaged goods ("CPG") companies and retailers. There is a need for farmers to tell their sustainability story with science-based metrics that can differentiate them in a globally competitive marketplace. At Nutrien, we can support farmers to meet this demand, scale innovative solutions, and create new and more resilient revenue sources for our customers.
Where did your hoody come from?
Nutrien Ag Solutions is collaborating with partners on a proof-of-concept fiber traceability project. We have partnered with a provider of “track and trace” technology to assess the isotopic fingerprint of the cotton from the grower's field through the entire ginning and garment manufacturing process. In 2020-2021, the project produced over 3,000 hoodies that were sourced and manufactured in the Southeastern US.
Our sustainability measurement programs use the Agrible® platform and a wide range of data to calculate indicators or metrics developed by recognized industry standard organizations.
In response to market forces, consumer packaged goods companies and retail businesses are striving to characterize the sustainability of their supply chains and to influence them in ways that improve the level of sustainability over time.
Farms can represent a large proportion of the environmental footprint of many consumer goods, and through our products, solutions and services, Nutrien Ag Solutions is supporting downstream organizations that are deploying sustainability measurement programs at the farm and field level.
Nutrien’s systematic approach to defining and implementing sustainability measurement programs includes program establishment, data collection, data analysis, data reporting and program refinement. We use our Agrible® platform and a wide range of data to calculate indicators or metrics developed by recognized industry standard organizations, which include:
- Land use
- Soil conservation
- Soil carbon
- Irrigation water use
- Water quality
- Energy use
- GHG emissions
Enablers of sustainable agriculture
In addition to our whole-acre solutions (products, services and programs), we have internal capabilities and seek external partnerships that provide a foundation for a more sustainable agriculture sector. These enablers create environmental, social and economic benefits, and include the below.
The greatest asset we have are the people at Nutrien who work to understand the individual challenges our growers face in order to deliver solutions. Through our retail business, Nutrien Ag Solutions, we have approximately 3,900 agronomists and field experts working directly with growers from over 2,000 global locations.
Contact Nutrien Ag Solutions for digital and agronomic solutions!
Financing is often a key enabler of sustainable acres to increase soil carbon sequestration, productivity, profitability and resiliency. Nutrien Financial provides financing for our growers, enabling them to invest in the long-term environmental and social health of their business and land.
Across North America, we offer various forms of training and educational materials to teach growers about our industry-leading portfolio of products and services using online training tools, including a wide range of educational videos.
- Listen to our podcast – The Future. Faster – to hear from industry leaders on all topics related to sustainable agriculture.
- Nutrien’s Model Farm and Agricultural Resource Centre in Trinidad and Tobago is a state-of-the-art 75-acre facility that offers free training to local farmers and students, with ongoing access to experts and best practices for sustainable crop production and profitable farm enterprises.
- Agrichem Nutrition Academy is a classroom and online training for professionals and farmers on the topics of soil fertility, plant physiology, plant nutrition and crop management best practices.
- Nutrien Soluções Agrícolas “Experience Centers” raise the bar on innovation and partnership in Brazil. These centers create an experience for connection and knowledge expansion, and will provide growers with support related to products, service, technology and financial management needs.
At Nutrien, we aim to invest in the next generation of farmers and engage youth in agriculture. We promote agriculture and leadership skills development with our support of organizations like the National FFA Organization, Agriculture Future of America and National 4-H Council.
In 2021, Nutrien partnered with over 150 non-profit and community partners to reach more than one million youth around the world with agriculture sustainability education programs that are hands-on, and science- and curriculum-based.
Nutrien’s R&D programs provide science-based solutions to the agronomic challenges that agriculture and our growers face today and in the future. Our R&D teams focus on innovative solutions for nutrient efficiency, micronutrient deficiency, crop quality, sustainability and yield enhancement.
Did you know? Nutrien has five seed breeding programs! Canola in Canada and Australia, cotton in Texas and Mississippi, rice in Texas, and cereals in Montana.
Our seed breeding programs are dedicated to developing elite hybrids, varieties and traits for growers with a focus on high-yielding and yield-stable varieties across geographies. Seed breeding is the process of combining the traits of different seeds to produce improved characteristics in crops for specific environments or conditions.
Nutrien is uniquely positioned with a network of owned and leased farm assets spanning more than 2,300 acres to test digital and crop input innovations.
Strong partnerships are the base of achieving sustainable progress across the agricultural supply chain.
Nutrien’s strong supplier partnerships are expected to enable future carbon improvement opportunities across supply chains and serve as a model for supporting climate action by investing in agriculture.
CPG company partnerships
Maple Leaf Foods is partnering with Nutrien to engage growers within its Manitoba, Canada supply chain to generate carbon outcomes that are intended to be independently verified by SustainCERT. The partnership is expected to enable future carbon improvement opportunities across Maple Leaf’s entire Canadian supply chain and serve as a model for Scope 3 emissions interventions in the food and ag value chain.
We also partnered with Ardent Mills in their North American Regenerative Ag Program, which spans approximately 150 growers and 250,000 acres to explore a more sustainable future for wheat production. Measurement projects characterize wheat crops using a variety of sustainability metrics and we also integrated solutions projects that promoted soil health and improved 4R fertilizer management.
Our research teams work across disciplines internally and externally with our innovation partner companies, as well as in partnership with leading research universities.
Nutrien and Colorado State University (“CSU”) College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a strategic partnership aimed at feeding the world through sustainable, innovative and inclusive practices. Nutrien's 10-year partnership and ongoing investments will improve research capabilities, help students prepare for a career in the field of agriculture and use innovative technology. Since 2019:
- Nutrien scholarships have supported 40 students.
- Nutrien Undergraduate Research Fellowships have been awarded to 18 students.
- Nutrien Distinguished Faculty Scholars have supported four College scientists.
- CSU hosted the first joint Nutrien Innovation Symposium.
- Nutrien supported the annual AgInnovation Summit.
Nutrien partnered with World Agri-Tech to sponsor an innovation challenge for ag-tech start-ups from around the world. Nutrien’s challenge sought new input technologies that improve nitrogen and water use efficiency and increase soil carbon. The winner, CoteX Technologies, offers affordable soil-degradable polymer-coated fertilizers, which evolve nutrient slow and controlled-release nitrogen fertilizer products, offering significant potential cost savings at scale. It has the flexibility to adapt both the composition and design of polymer coatings to improve in-field product performance, optimizing uptake of nitrogen by the crop and minimizing environmental loss and impact.
Nutrien Soluções Agrícolas partnered with AgTech Garage.The partnership includes an annual Pitch Day, in which start-ups from all over Brazil present their solutions for a pre-defined challenge, and a Nutrien channel on AgTech Garage’s platform for ongoing exploration of innovative ideas in which we may invest.
Nutrien is partnering with Radicle Growth on an Inclusion Challenge, a competition for ag-tech entrepreneurs who are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Nutrien joined forces with the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan nine years ago to create the Global Institute for Food Security, a Saskatoon-based innovation catalyst dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of solutions for the production of globally sustainable food.
The need to feed a growing population while minimizing the environmental and social impacts of agriculture is an opportunity for Nutrien to provide the right solutions for growers’ most pressing challenges: maximizing nutrient-use efficiency, minimizing nutrient loss to air and water, increasing crop quality and yields, and safe and responsible product use.
The main sources of impacts related to the application of crop inputs at the farm level are:
- Emissions to air: Volatilization is the loss of nitrogen to the atmosphere in the form of ammonia, primarily from urea-based fertilizers. We offer solutions such as slow-release nitrogen products and nutrient stewardship practices
- Loss to water: When fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus are improperly applied to crops, some nutrients may leach into groundwater or reach surface water by runoff. We promote improved management practices, and products and technologies where appropriate.
- Impacts to land: Plant nutrients in excess or deficit can weaken crops and reduce yields. We recommend the optimal balance of macro- and micronutrients to support soil and crop health. Utilization of precision agricultural technologies enables growers to better match requirements by field to improve yields and soil health, while reducing nutrient loss to the environment.