The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) announced that its Board of Directors acted this week to approve a $25,000 contribution to be used in development of a web portal aimed at helping small businesses in the fertilizer industry achieve enhanced operational efficiency. It is anticipated that the funding from TFI will help companies with limited access to technology participate in the Paperless Tonnage Reporting Project, a larger effort to develop and implement a mechanism to facilitate reporting of fertilizer sales to state fertilizer control officials. Full implementation of a paperless system by 2016, will afford cost efficiencies while ensuring greater accuracy in reporting at both the state level and nationally, where the data is used to track the sales and use of fertilizer and to calculate the efficiency of fertilizer use.

“Having timely and accurate fertilizer tonnage data is necessary to our advocacy efforts in the environmental arena,” said TFI President Chris Jahn. “Access to this information will greatly enhance our ability to communicate with policymakers and other stakeholders about farmers’ fertilizer stewardship.”

Today, 47 states require fertilizer and feed tonnage reporting, registration and payment of fees and taxes – with 47 different sets of rules and forms. In many states, reporting is still achieved using hard-copy, paper-submitted forms, creating an administrative burden for both companies and the state governments.

The Paperless Tonnage Reporting Project aims to provide cost-savings to both the states and the industry by using an industry standardized format, streamlining the reporting process, and utilizing electronic communication technologies. After nationwide implementation, all industry companies and states will benefit from a uniform reporting system that is faster, less error prone, and more efficient both in terms of financial and human resources.

The project is a collaborative effort between TFI, AgGateway, the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO).