A new growth...field?


This just in. The International Center for Soil Fertility & Agricultural Development released a press release stating that world fertilizer prices have been soaring, due to food and fuel economies jetting upward. There are a lot of reasons, as you can imagine.

For instance, as the press release explains, ethanol and other biofuels are increasingly popular, and to create those, you need to grow corn, and so you need fertilizer. Another reason: grain-fed cattle, instead of grass-eating cattle, is becoming the norm, particularly in fast-developing economies like China, India and Brazil. And because the price of natural gas is ridiculous, that adds to the cost of nitrogen-based fertilizers, which are made of natural gas feedstock, as I understand it.

Anyway, my point is the fertilizer market is doing very well these days. And somewhere in here is the chance for an enterprising startup to make money, as long as you can endure all the jokes you know your friends and family are going to make.

Geoff Williams is a freelance business journalist, primarily for Entrepreneur magazine, and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale, 2007). He would have referenced some of the fertilizer jokes, but he was afraid his mother might read this.