Fertilizers are used daily by farmers and families to help crops and gardens grow. Whether for a small garden of flowers and plants, or a large farm with thousands of acres of crops, a wide range of fertilizers have been developed to help different crops grow in different soil and weather conditions. Farmers turn to fertilizers because these substances contain plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertilizers are simply plant nutrients applied to agricultural fields to supplement required elements found naturally in the soil. Fertilizers have been used since the start of agriculture. Native American people used crude fertilizers, such as burying a fish in their corn plots, and organic farmers use fertilizer from natural source, such as compost. Most farmers today use fertilizers that are either mined or manufactured.
With the global population steadily growing, it is important that enough crops are produced each year to provide food, clothing and other agricultural products to people around the world. Fertilizers help deliver enough food to feed the world’s population. But they can do even more.
Fertilizers are essential to the security of the world’s food supply, and they must be used properly. The manufacture, sale and transportation of fertilizers is heavily regulated.
To stay healthy, humans need to acquire essential nutrients from many different food sources. The demand for food and other products from agricultural systems will increase over the next few decades. This means that we need to keep our soils healthy and full of nutrients in order to feed the growing population.